NBC Universal’s Director of Content Security Operations called on the industry to take all the steps necessary to combat piracy.
“We all need to actively engage in the protection of content,” said Michelle Huynh of NBC. “Combating piracy is not an impossible task. We all need to leverage technology to help us.”
In the case of the Vancouver Olympics NBC Universal went to special pains to protect its $800 million investment in the US TV rights. Using both automated and human-powered monitoring, NBC was able to implement automated realtime finger-printing called C-Link or ‘capture link’, to supplement the 24/7 human staff the broadcaster put in place to watch suspect websites like Megavideo, YouTube and JustinTV.
The human component included five teams of four investigators who monitored streaming sties, webcasts and cyberlockers as well as user-generated content sites like YouTube. “UGC sites represented the majority of the pirated content,” said Huynh. Because there was a 25-minute lapse between the airing of the NBC Olympics coverage before the automated finger-printing kicked in, the human monitoring was crucial.
The efforts paid off for NBC with only an estimated 66,000 viewer hours of infringement versus some 1.25 billion hours of Prime time TV viewership. “Piracy was a real threat but our work successfully restricted that threat,” said Huynh.