MultiChoice company launches tech that can crack down on DStv password sharing

Wholly-owned MultiChoice subsidiary Irdeto has announced that it extended the capabilities of its digital rights management system to tackle piracy and password sharing.

Irdeto is a security company that develops software and services for the gaming and video entertainment industries. It has been a MultiChoice subsidiary since 1997.

It announced on Sunday that it had extended the functionality of its Irdeto Control “multi-DRM solution”.

This includes expanding its geographic enforcement and concurrent stream management capabilities.

Irdeto says with the update, operators can define and monetise their on-demand offerings “using diverse concurrency models based on subscriber, content, and device segmentation”.

In simpler terms, Irdeto Control lets streaming providers limit access to content on their platforms based on how much subscribers pay.

They can also give subscribers a different number of simultaneous streams based on how much they pay, and limit how many of a specific type of device can simultaneously stream on a single account.

“With these new capabilities, pay-TV operators and media companies are enabled to quickly introduce new [over-the-top] business models and accelerate revenue growth by addressing new customer segments and increasing average revenue per user,” Irdeto stated.

MultiChoice recently made it so DStv subscribers could only stream video to a single device at a time.

The streaming limit applies to all DStv packages across Africa, including MultiChoice’s streaming-only services — a significant handicap.

Subscribers can still watch pre-downloaded content while someone else is streaming.

Showmax was unaffected by the change.

The streaming limit crackdown caused headaches for several subscribers in the weeks after it was implemented, with legitimate customers seeing error messages when they tried to watch DStv.

It also broke wireless screencasting, including Apple AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO

Three months after implementing the change, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said they plan to allow more simultaneous streams per household.

“We should be able to get a solution on that to deploy,” Mawela said. At the time, he did not give a timeframe for when people could expect the solution.

“In the meantime, we did not want this to be an ongoing problem, and we responded responsibly by limiting streaming to one device,” he said.

Irdeto Control

Irdeto Control concurrent stream management uses DRM-based “heartbeats”, which the company said are more secure and accurate, to replace the traditional player-based heartbeat method that requires custom development for each device and player.

“Irdeto’s unique approach is app agnostic and does not require custom code to be developed or maintained at the application or platform level,” it said.

“It prevents any attempt to circumvent the systems’ heartbeats, enabling operators to accurately enforce content and service usage rules in real-time.”

Irdeto Control also added capabilities for pay-TV operators and streaming services to perform blacklisting and whitelisting subscribers’ device IP addresses.

This offers flexibility to enforce geo-restrictions from a subscriber level, content level, or both, Irdeto stated.

“Based on subscribers’ location, operators can deploy targeted strategies by country, region, or city,” the company said.

“The new capabilities also include innovative tools to detect and block VPN and proxy services, impeding any attempt to circumvent the geo-restrictions.”

In addition to these new capabilities, Irdeto said it now co-hosts Widevine SDK as part of Irdeto Control, as Hosted Widevine Services.

“This new offering provides additional benefits to operators and media companies with improved user experience (low latency), managed change control, and dedicated monitoring capabilities to guarantee the required scalability and resiliency for high-profile events,” Irdeto said.

Now read: Netflix password-sharing crackdown tests adding extra homes for a fee

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MultiChoice company launches tech that can crack down on DStv password sharing