Right across Europe, Pay TV has never been more popular. Recent research by Digital Research TV Limited (DRTL) found that over half (56.8%) of households in Western Europe currently have a Pay TV subscription service – and predicted that proportion would rise to nearly 60% by 2021.
This impressive growth comes as TV consumption moved away from analog to broadcast digital services and more recently also towards IP distribution, with DRTL predicting that IPTV revenues in Western Europe would rise to $1.2 billion by 2021. This phenomenon has been driven by the rise of fast broadband, new services such as Netflix and affordable Smart TVs and set-top boxes. In 2015 alone, consumers across Western Europe bought 15 million new Smart TVs, according to German consumer electronics trade organisation GFU.
Yet before IPTV could deliver on this promise, the industry first had to deliver a key challenge – and it’s done so with a solution underpinned by Symantec technology. That challenge was: if you’re going to deliver valuable, PayTV content directly to TVs, how do you protect that content from interception or piracy?
Back in 2007, a consortium of TV manufacturers and vendors came together to solve this problem. Their solution was CI Plus, a technical specification that added security features to the commonly-used DVB Common Interface Standard. These enabled Smart TVs and set-top boxes to access a wide range of Pay TV services via conditional access plug-in modules. CI Plus enabled PayTV service providers protect their content by providing an encrypted channel between the plug-in module and the TV or Set-Top-Box. This encryption capability was underpinned by Symantec certificates and the Symantec CI Plus certificate service.
Since it launched in 2008, CI Plus has secured many billions of hours of Pay TV content worldwide. And earlier this year it reached a new landmark in the European Union. Together, CI Plus and Symantec have successfully secured more than half a billion TV and set-top boxes across the EU. And we are celebrating the success of this partnership at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam this week.
The success of CI Plus is an excellent example of how hardware manufacturers, security experts and content providers can come together to protect new categories of devices and secure intellectual property. As such it provides an important model for how industries can collaborate to effectively secure new Internet of Things technologies as they come online.