TV and film content providers are constantly trying to prevent
their properties from spreading throughout the web, but for online video
makers, Internet proliferation is key to their model. As a solution for online
media digital rights management (DRM), Nielsen and Digimarc announced today a
new service for media companies, social networks, peer-to-peer services and
user generated content sites to monitor and manage the distribution online
The new service, dubbed “Nielsen Digital Media Manager” will
employ digital watermarking and fingerprinting for copyright protection. Aside
from just DRM issues, the digital watermarking will also aid content providers tracking
content. Nielsen already uses a form of watermarking to encode television
According to the Wall Street
Journal, the Nielsen Digital Media Manager operates by checking the
watermark embedded in a video stream. Once identified, the program references
the distribution rights associated with the file and loads according to
predefined parameters once authorized. For example, a video may only be allowed
to load alongside a specific piece of advertising.
"We believe these services will stimulate the growth of
online video distribution, to the benefit of consumers, content providers and
distributors," said David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of the Nielsen
Company. Calhoun added his belief that the new Nielsen Digital Media Manager
will remove certain limitations on content providers in moving their media onto
"Until now, the lack of an independent,
industry-accepted identification and tracking service has limited the
transactions that allow the delivery of media content over the Internet, "
added Calhoun. "Now with our new media identification and management
services unique ability to identify content throughout the Internet, both
content providers and distributors can protect and monetize the value of online
Chairman and CEO of Digimarc Bruce Davis, echoed those
sentiments, saying, "The ability to identify content enables
accountability, insightful marketing, and enhanced consumer experiences. This
initiative can turn a perceived threat to the entertainment industry into a
manageable solution that inspires an exciting new era of digital
While other companies have already implemented similar
technologies into their media delivery programs, Nielsen’s pull in the
television industry may give it a distinct advantage. "The point is the
big boys are coming, and that signals that this is a field that has reached
technological maturity," said Rick Cotton, executive vice president and
general counsel of NBC Universal to the WSJ.
"It will achieve widespread commercial adoption, and from a content point
of view, it will contribute dramatically to reducing the easy theft of
copyrighted material online."
Following the introduction of the Nielsen Digital Media
Manager for online content, Nielsen and Digimarc expressed plans to extend its
technology to digitally watermark DVD’s, movies, music, video games and other
Nielsen said that it has approached companies such as Google
and News Corp.’s Fox, about the new service. Google’s YouTube has employed
fingerprinting technology since September, but may consider implementing
further digital protection technologies to prevent further legal action from
media companies. In March, Viacom filed
a lawsuit seeking $1 billion against Google alleging that the Mountain
View, Calif. software company intentionally committed massive copyright infringement
of Viacom’s properties.
The companies expect the new media identification and
management services to be available in mid 2008.
quote: "We believe these services will stimulate the growth of online video distribution, to the benefit of consumers..."
quote: "The point is the big boys are coming, and that signals that this is a field that has reached technological maturity," said Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal