Mastering the tide: Protecting live streaming from the surge of piracy

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By Team Intertrust


In the world of content streaming, live events—particularly sports—have become the gold standard for viewership. The white-knuckle excitement of watching an event unfold in real time has resulted in live streaming exploding into a market valued at an astonishing $47.53 billion in 2022. Yet, as this market continues to grow, so does the shadow of online piracy, threatening the profits and viability of content creators and distributors alike.

Our updated white paper, “Combating the latest threats to live streaming,” is the first installment in a two-part series that dissects the escalating threat to the prosperity and stability of live-streaming services. The rapid adoption of high-value live-streamed sports content by OTT platforms has heralded unprecedented levels of content theft, requiring a deeper understanding of piracy and the development of more advanced anti-piracy measures.

OTT piracy – beyond the direct losses

As live streaming takes center stage in OTT services, outpacing traditional TV viewership, it becomes a lucrative beacon for pirates. Direct losses from piracy are only the tip of the iceberg. Sports broadcasters now face sophisticated attacks like CDN leeching, DRM circumvention, and deceptive service facades that threaten the integrity and value of their content.

Ad revenue, the lifeblood of many streaming platforms, is particularly vulnerable. Pirates siphon away viewers, skewing metrics and devaluing ad impressions—a painful hit in an era of addressable, high-value advertising. Moreover, with ultra-high definition and high dynamic range content gaining traction, the quality—and, by extension, the risk—of pirated content has significantly heightened.

From understanding to action

Recognizing the problem is the first step; the next is taking determined action. The white paper not only outlines the depth of piracy’s threat but also points to effective protection strategies that are proving their mettle. Solutions must be swift, scalable, and adaptable to the landscape of modern-day content protection.

The call for industry-wide mobilization cannot be overstated. With proven cases of law enforcement and government regulation impacting piracy, there is a pressing need for investment in comprehensive, cloud-based solutions like those provided by Intertrust’s ExpressPlay Media Security Suite.

Be a part of the solution

The resolve to fight piracy begins with being informed. The full scope of the challenges and solutions are detailed in the paper “Combating the latest threats to live streaming – Assessing the threat to live-streaming services” and can be downloaded here.