Internet Monitoring & Network Filtering Market Becoming Explosive Digital Watermarking Application Print

MultiMedia Intelligence Brief March 6, 2008 -- Internet monitoring polices internet sites for copyright infringement and associating metadata with particular content. The growing popularity of User Generated Content (UGC) sites, peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and social networking sites is driving the proliferation of non-linear media distribution. It is no surprise that much of the copyrighted content distributed via these channels is unauthorized.

MultiMedia Intelligence's recent research on Digital Watermarking & Fingerprinting identifies internet monitoring and network filtering of copyrighted content as a growing and dynamic application, monitoring P2P and UGC sites for copyright infringement. MultiMedia Intelligence projects that the market for internet monitoring and networking filtering will grow from virtually nothing a couple of years ago to over 1/3 of the overall US$500+ million digital watermarking and fingerprinting by 2012.

The proliferation of illegal content on YouTube led to Viacom's lawsuit against the company (now Google). Major media companies have already developed a set of "UGC Principles" which lay-out their position on how such sites should participate in protecting copyrighted content. Google themselves has drawn up their own policies regarding copyrighted content. YouTube is also developing a proprietary internet monitoring capability, their "YouTube Video Identification" platform.

Internet monitoring solutions are currently fragmented across a variety of companies including Audible Magic, Nielsen Media Research, Philips, Thomson and Vobile. These companies generally target technology and software solutions to either the internet sites or directly to the copyright owners. Other solutions providers like BayTSP are more focused on a service-driven model, identifying infringed content and issuing take down notices.

Network filtering, an application of internet monitoring, is being evaluated by major broadband network operators such as AT&T. Illegal content is detected "in-route" and either the transfer is prohibited or specific individuals are targeted for copyright infringement. The media industry is reportedly broadly lobbying ISPs to monitor their networks for illegal content.

ISPs and network operators face a delicate decision when considering network filtering. Among the motivations for a network operator:
  1. Develop a stronger trust relationship with media companies to get earlier access to premium content
  2. Reduce potential liability for illegal traffic
  3. Reduce illegal P2P network traffic, which represents a significant bandwidth drain (over 50%) and drives up infrastructure costs.
  4. Subvert illegal media distribution that competes with the operators legitimate media distribution business.
  5. Potentially develop a revenue model similar to the piracy monitoring companies that monitor internet sites and issue take down notices.
However, network operators' role in network policing is not without risks, primarily due to privacy concerns and consumer backlash. Among the risks: 1. Identifying illegal content involves analysis of what many consider private content. This has already gotten the attention of privacy advocates.2. Operator efforts may inadvertently interfere with legitimate consumer activity.

3. Legal action from privacy advocates could follow.

4. Taking an active role in the content on an operator's network could actually increase their liability to copyright owners, since operators can no longer claim immunity.

5. Questions of network neutrality and the motivations of network operators are already arising.

Overall, digital watermarking and fingerprinting technologies are making internet and network monitoring viable. As non-linear distribution continues to proliferate, this technology is bound to become more important in providing critical visibility and control for copyright owners. Next generation applications will leverage the same technology to associate and target advertising to specific content titles, thus monetizing the P2P and UGC content.

This MultiMedia Intelligence brief is based on our new market research report, "Beyond Traditional DRM: Moving to Digital Watermarking & Fingerprinting in Media Monetization." The report provides research, analysis and forecasts for key fingerprinting and digital watermarking applications and technologies, including transactional watermarking in set-top boxes. It also identifies key media and DRM trends that are aligning to drive demand for fingerprinting and watermarking. The report includes forecasts and assessments of the digital media ecosystem, the digital watermarking and fingerprinting value chain, and the key segments and players in each application segment.

For more information, visit or contact

Rick Sizemore President

(480) 480-213-4151

rick This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Copyright and Usage Policy
MultiMedia Intelligence encourages the copying and reproduction of all or part of this editorial, provided that MultiMedia Intelligence is cited in subsequent publications. The text can also be paraphrased and quoted, with quotes attributed to Frank Dickson, Chief Research officer for MultiMedia Intelligence. For exclusive commentary and quotes, please contact us directly.