NAB 2012: Security and Content Issues For Any Business to Worry About…

The NAB opened today in Las Vegas. As with any edition of this annual festival of geeks and broadcasters, new cameras, editing gear, and grip gear was on every aisle in the Convention Center village. Underneath the big glowing signs and LCD displays, there was a more urgent sort of heartbeat… how to secure content, and building new channels in which to deliver that content.

Several years ago, we’d say the issues of content were limited to television broadcasters. But today, anyone can be a broadcaster. The issues aren’t really about being able to do it – suddenly the issues are about doing it right and not being sent to the bottom like the RMS Titanic. If you think it can’t happen to you…

We’re in a new world now. Three years ago, there was no iPad, the iPhone was the new remarkable device to behold, the app store didn’t exist, and Facebook was only accessible thru a browser (and was used by a fraction of the people devoted to it today). Oh – no Twitter, either.

So, in just three short years, we’ve evolved to a point where not only are consumers consuming video in huge quantities, they often aren’t using televisions to do it. Are you a twenty something? Is your “TV” your laptop? Your iPad? Your mobile smart phone? You bet it is. And this traffic and usage of these devices is growing at a rate far in excess of 100% year over year.

In that short period of time, the providers of content have rushed to meet the demands of the new user base. Streaming to multiple formats, implementing the proper security for each device; not to mention finding the right adaptive bit rate for each device. Think of this new movement as TV Everywhere.

The issues involving TV Everywhere are complex. Done well, TV Everywhere merges the best facets of television and the Internet. Premium content and rich contextual controls create a powerful TV experience. Next, add in social media feeds, integrated search and all of the various iPad, Android, and related mobile apps – traditionally the domain of the Web – become applicable to a TV viewing audience .

The challenge that comes with the TV Everywhere opportunity is that if done poorly, viewers will seek out other providers for their content. That means a business may lose business if they create poor content, or don’t invest properly in this new use of technology. While some content providers invest heavily in their brand and in providing an enhanced experience around their content, others believe just doing it is enough.

This also relates to the misconception that many entities (especially corporations) have about content. They (often wrongly) believe that because a video camera is only a few hundred dollars that their marketing managers can create videos and media messages in-house. Just today, in conversation with several of my peers, there was talk of how marketing directors and Veeps were “thrilled” that hundreds of people had watched a YouTube video. The fact is that such numbers and the type of results often generated using home grown tactics are fully misleading and distract from a company’s marketing focus.

Creating quality video isn’t about being able to make a video – it’s about being able to take a company’s sales and marketing objectives and to turn those into quantifiable and effective stories USING video.

The other thing that was very apparent today was the increasing risk to businesses who use video randomly and as a “low cost marketing” opportunity: the risk of security breaches and attacks.

Security concerns amplify as corporations rely on increasingly global and device-based marketing and sales initiatives. When a new product is introduced, companies are making an iPad presentation, a YouTube video, and a FaceBook contest part of the process.

opportunities for digital revenue expansion. New business models – including direct-to-consumer subscription and content sales, embedded ecommerce and mobile applications – assume the risk of exposing sensitive customer data as a result of a security breach. The more popular they become, the greater the risk that an online endeavor might be negatively impacted, including:

  • Any content on a corporate infrastructure could be attacked, exposed and brought down: production schedules, business productivity applications, content management systems, and more
  • e-commerce: With an attack, a revenue-generating sales channel is taken down
  • A website not being served, causing anyone that relies on Internet connectivity to do their job to be impacted and unable to access business critical Internet applications like email, Sharepoint or
  • FTP sites where content is uploaded and accessed
  • Customer databases with personal information can be exposed

Security is not a new issue, per se. For the past several decades, those entities experienced with digital media distribution have been focused on protecting digital content and assets from online piracy, to ensure that only those who are proper rights may access media. Today, those concerns have merged with the need to protect assets from a new threat: the hacktivist movement.

This new threat is directly aimed at those entities that use media to share their message. It isn’t just media and entertainment companies that are at risk, either. Corporations that use the Internet to share video, presentations, sales promotions, PR, and community “brand” building are becoming targets.

And the threat isn’t just to delivery of the media. The threat is larger: threat to reputation, threat to revenue and threat to brands. Media and corporate websites are coming under increasing attack – hacking of home pages, replacement of video streams, DDoS bringing sites down to limit access, revenue streams for the business attacked, personal information stolen … and that’s just part of the threat board. Unfortunately, these kinds of attacks have not been on the radars of many media and corporate entities, and their entire marketing process may be at risk.

These factors are proving to be important issues at this year’s NAB. So, while the new Nikon D800 or the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite 6 may be enthralling, there are undercurrents that are just as essential: understanding how to create quality TV everywhere, and how to protect it as well.

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