On February 29, the internet breathed a collective sigh of relief before bursting into a frenzy of social media memes to celebrate Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar win for best Actor in a leading role for The Revenant. For many people, The Revenant will now be remembered as the film that finally won Leo that Oscar. However, it was only a few months earlier that The Revenant was making headlines due to being leaked to piracy sites after screeners were sent to voters for awards consideration.

Prior to the digital revolution, a watermarked DVD was deemed the most secure way to prevent the leak of a new project being circulated ahead of global distribution. However, in order to reduce the costly and time consuming process of duplicating DVDs to send to multiple people, the content industry has turned to e-Screeners, a digital alternative that enables content creators to easily distribute a piece of content both internally to a select number of people for editing purposes, and externally to reviewers and award panellists.

While e-Screeners provide an effective way to remove the need for physical disk distribution by enabling content to be safely streamed or downloaded via an online portal, they also need to be protected to limit the risk of illegal redistribution of content before it airs, which can result in disastrous box office flops.

Forensic watermarking has been proven to be the most effective piracy deterrent for pre-release content, including e-Screeners. It’s already widely deployed by Hollywood studios and is now enforced by the latest MovieLabs specifications for Enhanced content protection, which aim to ensure that any content leak can be addressed effectively and in a timely fashion.

We have developed a forensic watermarking solution specifically for e-Screeners to help content creators track an illicit copy to the original recipient, regardless of how the content has been captured or uploaded. Compatible with connected TVs, PCs or handheld devices, our solution enables content owners to determine their own level of security, which easily scales to millions of files.

We strongly believe that e-Screeners are the best way for content creators to share their productions with peers, which is why we took part in two sessions discussing the future of e-Screeners at the Content Protection Briefing 2016. If you’ve missed us there, we will be attending NAB Show 2016 on April 18-21, where we will demonstrate state-of-the-art solutions for e-Screeners on booth #SU3424. To arrange a meeting with us in Las Vegas, get in touch.

See you in Vegas!

By Mark Nakano, Senior Director Product Marketing & Partnerships, NexGuard