Case study: Implementing DRMtoday for DPG Media’s Streamz platform

Objective

DPG Media sought a DRM solution for their distinctive Streamz OTT platform, which is a streaming service combining the best locally produced series supplemented with must-see international content, in addition to an extensive kids zone, films, and documentaries, targeting a wide range of devices like SmartTV’s, set-top boxes, mobile devices and web browsers.

Their requirement was a robust product that simplifies multi-DRM licensing, facilitates seamless access control across diverse devices, and effectively handles a substantial daily influx of licence requests. Furthermore, they were in need of a strategic collaboration with a technology partner capable of delivering a consistent playback experience for protected content across all devices.

Challenge

As many streaming providers will recognize, one of the primary challenges revolved around continuously aligning with the standards and expectations set by major Hollywood studios in safeguarding their premium content against piracy. Simultaneously, DPG Media aimed to provide the best possible streaming experience for their end users on a multitude of supported devices such as web, Android, iOS, and smart TV brands like Samsung, LG, and set-top boxes (EOS).

“Before using castLabs DRMtoday, we struggled to implement HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) requirements across client devices using a third-party “all-in-one” streaming solution. These requirements posed challenges in validating them through the partner’s proprietary player SDK, often producing inconsistent results. While seeking technical assistance, we realised that our partner lacked the specific expertise required to address our concerns effectively. Furthermore, we found their product capabilities to be limiting. For example, managing different protection schemes for various content sets was nearly impossible, as we were forced to set up static configurations via their web console. Additionally, we were unable to differentiate protection levels between HD and Full HD renditions of the same video.”

Sven Munaron, Head of IT Video Platforms at DPG Media

DPG Media was in search of a DRM solution that not only fulfilled these requirements but also delivered them with exceptional uptime and reliability. While this may seem obvious, unfortunately, they encountered numerous issues and disruptions with their former partner, which had a direct impact on their end users. DRM is the cornerstone of premium video playback, leaving no room for fallback or shortcuts, as any compromise could breach content service. It has to remain rock-solid without exception, consistently and without fail.

Solution

castLabs recognized the need for a solution that goes beyond conventional approaches where DRMtoday, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), differentiates itself through flexibility, reliability, and scalability. castLabs’ support for Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange (SPEKE) API simplifies integration, and allows for compatibility across various devices. Collaborating closely, castLabs ensured that DPG Media’s unique content protection needs were met, delivering an effective response to their requirements.

The partnership allowed both companies to collaboratively address the challenges, providing solutions to enhance DPG Media’s content protection strategy.

“We have worked with castLabs over an extended period of time and value them for their first-grade services and strong expertise, their appetite for innovation and their sense of collaboration. Their approach aligns perfectly with our vision of a successful partnership, and this is what truly sets them apart.

DRMtoday by castLabs distinguishes itself as a highly flexible, reliable, and dependable product that effectively simplifies the intricate task of building secure content protection solutions. On the packaging front, their support for the SPEKE interface made it significantly easier for us to seamlessly integrate our third-party video packaging service. We took advantage of the many presets that come with SPEKE to facilitate a setup that fits our use cases.”

Jan De Beer, VOD & Live Chain Product Owner at DPG Media

“Since we handle in-house player development, we opted to integrate our players directly with their licensing service and that worked out very nice. Notably, on the licence delivery side, we are particularly pleased with the ability to programmatically customise DRM settings for each individual playback session from our backend. This level of flexibility empowers us to implement protection levels on a per-video (contract) basis, adding another layer of customization to our content delivery.”

William Caelen, Video Player Product Owner at DPG Media

Result

Before integrating DRMtoday, DPG Media faced challenges in meeting the stringent content protection demands set by content providers, leading to arduous contract renegotiations. With the implementation of DRMtoday, their capacity to swiftly close content deals has markedly improved, enabling them to promptly assure content providers of compliance with their security requirements and thereby expediting the negotiation process. Notably, DRMtoday has become a catalyst for initiating new content agreements. This robust tool not only ensures adherence to content protection standards but also serves as a pivotal facilitator in enhancing the end-user experience.

Enabling the distinction in protection levels between HD and Full HD renditions of the same video marks an enhancement for certain clients, granting them the opportunity to experience at least the HD quality. With castLabs’ DRMtoday, DPG Media implements and enforces content protection on their video platform exactly the way they want. This has enabled them to build a secure video streaming path from their backend to every player, amplifying their ability to meet the demands of content owners. As a result, they can offer their end users even more premium studio content via their streaming services, all while ensuring that the content remains diligently safeguarded, as it should be.

castLabs’ collaboration with DPG Media exemplifies the success of DRMtoday in delivering secure and customised content protection solutions. DPG Media’s ability to offer more premium content to users is a testament to the effectiveness of DRMtoday, creating a seamless and secure streaming experience.

DPG Media

DPG Media Belgium is the leading media group in Flanders that reaches viewers, surfers, readers and listeners with impressive stories, lightning-fast news and enthralling entertainment. Their mission is to inspire, inform, and entertain through all their channels – radio, television, newspapers, magazines, sites, apps, and podcasts – they are there 24/7 to enrich people’s lives.

Website: dpgmediagroup.com

Year established: 1990

HQ: Antwerp, Belgium

Service: Streaming platform, distributor, producer, TV and radio broadcaster

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