unprecedentedIrdeto has launched its annual predictions report, looking at the content delivery and security trends in media and entertainment for 2018. The new e-book, Disruptive Technologies, Consolidation and Cybersecurity: 2018 Trends in the Connected World, features commentary on topics including the continuing battle against piracy, innovation in IP video and 4K UHD, growing competition from OTT for both rights and viewers, Android TV, Artificial Intelligence potential, or watermarking becoming mandated by content owners.

“The evolution of the media and entertainment industry has continued at pace over the last year and we are getting to a point where the landscape will be unrecognizable from just five years ago,” said Doug Lowther, CEO, Irdeto. “Much of this evolution has been driven by technology innovation, giants from other sectors entering this space, and ecosystem fragmentation. Alongside the myriad of challenges brought up by this rapid evolution, the media and entertainment industry also face the constant specter of cybercrime and piracy, a threat which continues to grow. Evolving in tandem with consumer habits, while protecting content investments, will be crucial to ensure the continued strength of the industry.”

In a nutshell, Irdeto’s e-book provides deeper insights and predictions around the following trends in the media and entertainment industry:

  • Disintermediation of the value chain: Content creators are feeling the pressure and are to some extent positioning themselves as platforms. This requires strong brand recognition and superior content. We’re going to see major studios take more and more ownership of their content and become end-to-end distributors, impacting the middle man. In 2018, mergers also seem logical to create entities strong enough to go direct to consumers.
  • Letting go of old ways to make room for giant leaps: For operators, competing against Internet-based companies entering the media industry has been tough. Android TV has emerged in the past couple of years as a promising platform for operators to leap ahead, albeit from a surprising ally – Google. 2018 is likely to be a pivotal year for operators who are ready to move away from traditional middleware and gain an equal footing as internet-based competitors by embracing Android TV. It will also be the year that all players across the ecosystem recognize the need to leverage the power of IP networks compared to traditional broadcast networks, from a delivery optimization perspective.
  • The impact of AI, Blockchain and 5G on piracy: This coming year will see content owners and rights holders push themselves even harder to battle piracy, with the emergence of AI. Meanwhile Blockchain and the advent of 5G have the potential for both positive and negative impacts on the media and entertainment industry. There is potential for pirates to exploit Blockchain to accelerate content redistribution, but there are also opportunities in blockchain for content owners and rights holders, particularly around the characteristics of cryptocurrency, immutability, tracking of ownership and smart contracts. Meanwhile the increased data connectivity allowed by 5G will accelerate OTT uptake, but could also make it easier for the distribution and consumption of pirate content.
  • Watermarking and legislation – The piracy battle intensifies: As the fight against piracy continues, watermarking is a technology that is becoming increasingly crucial and will see sports rights owners in particular increasingly mandating watermarking in their licensing contracts. 2018 is also likely to see movement in the legislative agenda and we may see ISPs being required to act quicker against illegal content.
  • Competition increases generally from both legal and illegal entities: Illegal pirate services often provide an experience that fools consumers into believing they are legitimate. Pay TV operators are facing potential subscriber churn to cheaper illegal services as a result. 2018 is the year when the industry will finally start viewing the pirates as competitors. However, competition will also increasingly come from legitimate content providers and concern among operators will increase around the power of the big four technology companies, as they further extend their content and entertainment presences.

ESET’s recently released report folds similar predictions, stating that cybersecurity incidents and risks will grow even further in 2018. The report titled "Cybersecurity Trends 2018: The Cost of our Connected World” focuses on ransomware, attacks on critical infrastructure, malware and combating criminal activity, as well as the cyber threats posed to electoral campaigns and data privacy.

"While many large companies appear to be taking cybersecurity more seriously these days, with security teams getting both the budget and the C-level backing required to do a good job, many smaller businesses supplying goods and services to larger organizations are struggling. That makes them an attractive target", Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET explains.

ESET's successful collaboration with Microsoft, Europol and the FBI led to the arrest of cybercriminals involved in the Gamarue botnet.  In the report, 'Doing time for cybercrime: police and malware research join force' demonstrates the importance of security companies and law enforcement working together to contribute to making the Internet a safer place for everyone, except cybercriminals.

The vulnerability of elections was emphasized in 2017 as major voting events took place around the world. Can votes cast by an electorate be tampered with, and can an electorate be swayed in the run up to an election by hacktivists working to change public opinion? Countries should invest in preventative measures in 2018 to safeguard the digital security of the democratic process.

The General Data Protection Regulation(s) comes into force in May 2018, replacing the Data Protection Directive and increasing the legislative concern surrounding data privacy. In the report, ESET security expert Tony Anscombe focuses on user-awareness of data collection, the risks faced by data collected through the Internet of Things (IoT), and the significant fines for companies that fail to protect personal data.

Technological innovations and their use in 2017 have produced remarkable possibilities in the digital world, while also exposing users to new kinds of threats. This year we have seen cybercriminals focus their attacks on sensitive and private information. 2018 is the year users need to increase their awareness of cyber threats and manage their digital world more responsibly.

By MediaBUZZ