How premimum video platforms use manifest-level watermarking and client-side watermarking to control piracy
With the increasing demand for OTT and VoD content, piracy of premium content has also been on the rise. This has led to the adoption of forensic watermarking solutions to secure DRM protected content once it reaches the user’s device. Forensic watermarking can be further divided into A/B watermarking and bitstream-based watermarking.
In A/B watermarking, two variants, called A and B, of each streaming session are generated which receive a different watermark. These streams are then broken up into segments which are ultimately combined to form a single stream with a unique combination of A and B segments. Whereas, in the case of bitstream watermarking, the watermark is inserted in real time by edge servers during streaming.
The A/B variant watermarking can further be divided into manifest-level watermarking and client-side watermarking. In manifest level video watermarking, the two unique versions of watermarked video files are mixed to create a unique user-specific watermark which is distributed to users. A disadvantage of A/B watermarking is that the two variants for each segment require double storage/caching compared to non-watermarked content. It may not be effective for certain use-cases, such as live streaming, since it is time and resource demanding and needs a lot of storage space.