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Video: Protecting Your Assets With DRM As a Service

Jose: Hello everyone, and welcome to Streaming Media East here in New York City, 2017. My name's Jose Castillo, and I'm joined here on the show floor by David Eisenbacher, CEO and co-founder of EZDRM. David, thank you so much for joining us.

David: I always have a blast at Streaming Media East. I'm glad to be here as well.

Jose: I know, it's fun being in New York City, getting to hang out with all the industry folks. It's a beautiful place to be, but we're excited. First of all, tell me a little bit about EZDRM. Maybe there's some folks out there who don't know who you are. What's your company, and then what differentiates you in the marketplace?

David: Sure thing. EZDRM started in the early days of the online media. We started back in 2000.

Jose: That's like forever ago. That's like a sequoia tree in the ages.

David: Yeah. We had 300Kbps streaming for Windows Media Player. It just worked. But that was just the start. We decided to do DRM as a service to allow our clients, who really are just content owners as well as online services. Their business model is content as well as the experience of that content to their end viewers. DRM shouldn't be this large, dark cloud, or this unknown box they have to worry about. They should be able to easily add into their systems, they already have CDNs, they already have encoders, and they should be able to add DRM part of their workflow, and they had to invest in basically these point solutions, 'til they came up as a hosted DRM as a service, and we've been just helping our clients grow. We're like putting gasoline on the fire.

Jose: Awesome. That's excellent. We went through a list of questions beforehand, and we've got some great topics. CMAF, DRM as a service, MPEG DASH as a standard, studio guidelines, so we'll get through all these, but to start with, CMAF. Is that like the C-PAP, like the machine you sleep with, help you sleep at night, or ...? No. No. No.

David: Definitely simpler than that. That's Common Media Application Framework, and really, instead of every vendor out there, you have Microsoft, you have Adobe, you have Google, you have RealNetworks. Each had their own formats. You had SmoothStream, you had HTTP, RTMP, and everyone was trying to reinvent the wheel. Eventually, you all have to come together, so it's all about standards, and it's all about a common framework for having media on the web, because inventing new protocol, it's only sexy to the engineers, it's not sexy to the business.

Jose: Right.

David: Having a common framework, with standards where we all vote on and agree on, and that actually makes the content owners' lives much simpler. They don't have to have seven different versions of their content. They can have one, tie that into common encryption, and then the actually endpoint, the actual device, is able to work by its native abilities.

Jose: Got it. Now, I know, any time you try to tell 100 cats to go in one place, it's not always going to work. How do you feel that the industry as a whole is ... Is everybody coming together? Is everybody playing nice? Is this happening-

David: It is.

Jose: As fast as you'd like it?

David: It is. We're having a common goal. The common goal is to make the content owners happy, and to make us, who are also consumers, have a better experience on the web. I could use my PC, I could use my tablet, and I want to view my content and not worry about, you know, I can't view it on this device, because the content's only available via certain standards.

Jose: Got it. Talk to me a little bit about DRM as a service, versus the alternatives. What are the positives, the downsides of DRM as a service?

David: Sure thing. So, DRMs as a service. At the end of the day, they're two trains of thoughts. Own it, build it in-house, or have a operational cost where you're using the base functionality, and not having to actually build everything from ground up. I mean, you don't build your own encoder anymore. You would use Cisco, Harmonic, or all the encoders out there. You could Unified Streaming, you have Bitmovin, you got Wowza, all these streaming servers, and then you use a CDN. You have Alchemy, you have Level 3, you have all these different other CDNs. So, having those operational entities as part of your workflow, DRM just makes sense, basically have that as a component, and not have to build it in-house.

Yes, if you are, let's say in Netflix or Verizon, where you already have the infrastructure, then yes, it made sense in the early days, your built it, you owned it, you have it. But now, with more and more OTT systems, to where they are more focused around the content, and the workflows are being done in the cloud anyway, through AWS or that kind of stuff, it just empowers them to actually get to business and market on day one, instead of having to lengthen their cycles.

Jose: Got it. For those of you watching on Facebook Live, if you've got questions, put them in the comments below, and we'll get to those questions. Next up, I wanted to talk a little bit about MPEG DASH as a standard. Your thoughts on that?

David: That is also the same thing like CMAF, basically instead of having each vendor come out with their own protocol, you know, own special sauce. I mean, protocol's not sexy. It's not. I mean, at the end of the day, the content owners that provide OTT services just want to be able to stream out their content, have a format that works across all devices. This was the basis around the DASH IF. We've been a partner with them for years. Every day, it gets stronger, 'cause everyday we're adding more organizations, and therefore we have more opinions, that can only help the process and not hurt it.

Jose: Got it. Is it similar, you know, again I'll use the cat analogy, where you like, maybe there's some folks that are not adopting this, or whatever. How do you pull all those folks together, and say, hey, this is the one? Or is it just becoming naturally clear as people see it?

David: It's coming clear. It's also, people are leaving their religion at the door. They're coming in with a common goal that they want their lives to be simple, they want things to work, but yes, they all have their requirements. They all have their needs. You could be doing sports, you could be doing events that are live, or you can have like reruns of the Simpsons. Basically, you all have different needs 'cause your viewers are engaged in that content a little differently. Therefore, by having more people that are part of this, allows us to think, okay, here's my needs, but these are your needs now too, and allows us to have a framework that is open. We're always expanding the feature set. We're always expanding the extra support of it by having more input.

Jose: Awesome. Talk to me a little bit about studio guidelines, and now a lot of these folks are saying, "Hey, we want to take content and put it out there," and studios are saying, "Hey. Here's what you've got to do." How is that impacting how you guys do business in the marketplace?

David: Okay. Over the years, from 2000 to '05, 10, 'til now, DRM has been up and down. At first, it was very simple, 'cause there was only one player. It was Microsoft. You're on PC, you all have Windows Media Player. Therefore at the end of the day, it was very easy to say, you want DRM, no problem, 'cause it just works. Then it got very fragmented. You had RealNetworks’ Helix, you had Adobe, you had ... even Sun had a DRM system. Everyone wanted to have the best platform, basically, and say, here's why you have to use our special sauce, and therefore, everything got fragmented. You had to pick, if I'm using this technology, here's the way I need it to work. If I'm using that technology ... Therefore, it got over-complicated.

Them who did it were the major studios, because they had all that invested effort and money into it. Now DRM, through CMAF and Common Encryption, and just standards, everyone's like, okay, DRM is now simple. It just works, and now DRM isn't a hindrance, so therefore it's being mandated, because it's not a hindrance to that viewership, and you have the studios plus you also have the small people. Anyone who makes content has a value in their content, and therefore, it should be protected, and protection does not mean that you are actually limiting that experience, it just makes sure that you are protecting your assets and allowing the viewers that you want to view it, to actually view it.

Jose: Excellent. Talk to me a little bit about Streaming Media East. We're here at the show. Again, it's one of the best places in the world to find out about anything you need to know about online video. What are some things that you've seen here at the show that have either interested you or things that are maybe new or exciting that you've seen so far here?

David: Yeah. I come here wanting to meet a lot of my partners I have currently, as well as to walk the trade floor to see anything new, because there's always someone who has an idea, and comes out with something new. IBM Cloud, they've actually bought a few of the companies together, and have a more complete A-to-Z solution depending on your needs. So seeing how things are also evolving, and they are also maturing.

Jose: Got it. What about your clients and the folks here, what are you hearing? There's always a buzz about something.

David: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose: What is that topic? Is it a specific software, hardware? Is it a political topic? What are the things that your hearing right now?

David: There's HEVC, there's the AV1, as well as the VP9, so now it's like, okay, basically, it is ... at the end of the day, we all budget, so we basically want to get more done with less. So the better compression standards, as well as the change in compression standards means I have less storage on a CDN. They're just trying to figure out what's going to be the next actual adopted standard, basically, are you going to have VP9, they have AV1, but finding out what is going to be the new sauce to make their content one, in 4K, look like it truly there is 4K, and not have the codec hindrance, as well as storage space around this.

Jose: That's awesome. We actually have some folks watching all the way from Greece, so hello to the folks over in Greece.

David: Hello.

Jose: And then Eugene Fisher is asking about question for solutions for churches or houses of worship. Have you worked with any of those type of folks? Any solutions for those?

David: Yes. Therefore, as I was saying, content protection and DRM is not just for Disney as well as Warner Brothers, it's for anyone who does an online presence. Yes, we actually have clients that are in education space, as well as they are also part of religious services, because not everyone can make it to church, as well as they will do additional sermons or meetings online. They are streaming that online and basically having DRM as a service ties easily into that, because it's just one of the easier check boxes for it to be done.

Jose: Awesome. I hope that answers your question, Eugene. If not, get in touch with EZDRM or any of us here at Streaming Media. We'll be glad to answer your questions more.

David Eisenbacher, CEO, co-founder from EZDRM. I really appreciate you coming out today.

David: Thank you very much.

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