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Akamai and Vobile Reveal Critical 12-18 Hour Distribution Window to Protect Digital Broadcast Content from Piracy


Within hours, episode of popular TV show was watched thousands of times illegally, translating into lost audience and potential ad revenue for the content owner

National Association of Broadcasters Conference, Las Vegas, NV . - Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leader in powering rich media, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online, and Vobile, a leading provider of video content identification and management services, today announced results of a study showing how quickly broadcast content is pirated online. Akamai and Vobile revealed that illegal versions of a popular US-based primetime television show were available online within minutes of being broadcast, and that thousands of unauthorized downloads had occurred. In order to protect valuable audience reach and revenue, content owners need to distribute premium content through legitimate channels within a window of 12-18 hours.

Content owners can do two things to mitigate this risk and channel users to legitimate content: syndicate and post content directly to their site, as well as pre-arranged partner sites; and take security measures by fingerprinting and registering their content with companies like Vobile to prevent the broad propagation of their copyrighted content across the Internet.

The goal of the study was to determine how quickly a piece of premium content can propagate through illegitimate distribution channels, thus impacting its revenue potential. Vobile used its fingerprinting technology, called VideoDNATM, to identify and track the episode. The results show:

* Unauthorized consumption of a popular TV show is relatively low in the first 12 hours, but shortly after that a major consumption spike occurs.
* Consumption begins the morning following broadcast airtime and gets progressively larger throughout the day.
o In the first several hours, thousands of views take place
o By lunchtime the following day, the number has increased 5X
o By the third day – the number is in the hundreds of thousands
o In 72 hours, unauthorized consumption can erode nearly 20 percent of the online audience for an average primetime TV show
o When translated into hours of programming lost for a typical primetime show distributed online, this can represent tens of thousands of dollars of lost ad revenue - just for a single episode.

“Content owners that act quickly to syndicate assets through legitimate channels will have a better chance of mitigating the negative effects of piracy by directing audiences to their approved content distribution channels – protecting valuable revenue, audience and premium content rights,” said Tim Napoleon, Chief Strategist, Media & Entertainment at Akamai. “In order to be successful, content owners must leverage as many distribution channels as possible in order to direct consumers to legitimate content - with the right rules and policies attached.”

“For media companies, audience control and channeling users to valuable premium content assets are paramount,” said Yangbin Wang, founder and CEO of Vobile, Inc. “Speed of distribution matters to preserve revenue and audience. As a leading provider of content identification and management, we know how important it is for content owners to prevent illegal consumption and deliver legitimate content in a timely fashion.”

Standing between revenue-generating content and online audiences is a complex set of technical and business tasks – everything from capturing, transcoding and distributing video, to managing associated metadata to setting policies and ensuring compliance with geographic restrictions. Hitting the instantaneous online distribution window successfully requires a streamlined, automated media distribution workflow that includes a system for managing business rules and policies.

With its Stream OS® media management suite, Akamai provides a quick, automated way to upload content so content owners can meet the necessary time window and reduce the likelihood of content being pirated across illegal channels. The solution allows content owners to easily add assets, apply business rules, and publish content in a controlled way across traditional syndication models and viral distribution across the Internet.

Vobile’s VideoDNA content identification technology, which analyzes video and audio content frame-by-frame, can help solve the issue of unauthorized consumption. VideoDNA quickly and effectively identifies infringing content, and therefore can remove it before the content propagates through illegitimate distribution channels. This time-efficient and effective process alleviates uncertainty and encourages audiences to turn to legitimate content, preserving revenue streams for content owners.

Survey Methodology
Using its proprietary VideoDNA technology, Vobile created video fingerprints -- highly accurate digital representations of the original content -- of a single primetime broadcast show prior to airtime in the second week of March, 2008 and then used the VideoDNA system to track the propagation of the episode across a series of popular video sharing Web destinations on the Internet from the first hour after airtime over a thirty-day period.


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