Streaming Piracy is Pernicious: Credential Sharing in the U.S. is Not

Originally posted as a comment to this piece here. Full disclosure, I worked with this team during my run at Cisco SPVSS which turned into Synamedia. I know & like Rinat Burdo well and have tremendous respect for the team.

Well, I have to disagree with the premise of this post.

Industrialized, sophisticated piracy is a better threat to focus on than credential sharing, which is a complete hoax, a made up fake-news story.

Let’s look at the Cartesian’s survey data that Synamedia put out: They concluded that the TOP SOURCE of credential sharing – at only 39% btw — was “non-household relatives”. Or as I call it, “Family!” Pay TV APRU in the US is SKY HIGH – so yes, we expect a Household to include our immediate family members that might be off earning a degree. Who btw are also on our health insurance plans!

Even still, my good friends at Cisco SPVSS / Synamedia continue to beat this credential sharing story even after Colin Dixon’s take down earlier in the year. So now I do feel compelled to speak up honestly, in what I hope is received in a respectful, honest, and helpful way for readers and for my friends at Synamedia.

Bottom line:

The top threat to piracy in 2019 is the same as 2018 — industrialized, quasi-governmental supported B2B operations — and the #1 easy thing you can do is to protect your streaming ops by ensuring your Cloud is protected. Meaning, all your contribution & primary distribution & edge processing links & devices have good solid locks on them. Encrypting cloud transmission, supporting multi-DRM, making legit streaming easy & fairly priced, & getting the authorities involved, who can easily police bandwidth with UEBA tools from the likes of Exabeam.

Finally, even if Streaming Piracy is the #1 piracy threat, which I do not believe it is, the industry has a long way to go before ABR streaming watermarks are commercially viable. So there’s that.

But after all of that, after digesting all those arguments above, let me say this, and I speak with the biggest sports rights holders in the world on a weekly basis. Some of them on stage at NAB Show.

And do you know how they make their money? By sticking putting ads INSIDE the feed. It’s brilliant right? So no matter who watches the video globally, we know they’re cheering and crying, falling in love with players and teams, smiling with friends — and watching those ads.

That’s the kind of security that helps them sleep well at night.


Expert in video tech, TV biz, prototyping, product strategy, marketing & sales.

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