Fighting Back Against Live Sports Piracy

Watermarking live sports is a game-changer.

The Challenge

Live Sports remains one of the single most valuable forms of content for broadcasters, MVPDs and specialized OTT services. Roughly a third of all TV viewing time is spent on sports, and most of that is done live. Given the ease with which content can be re-streamed online and watched for free, what can be done to protect revenue and ensure that this market remains viable for investment?

The Solution

Traditional DRM and CAS systems do a good job of ensuring that only legitimate viewers can access content through paid services. But once the video is displayed, it is vulnerable to re-streaming through numerous methods, from the “analog hole” to camcord capture. By embedding an invisible, yet indelible, forensic watermark in each video stream, content that is improperly re-distributed can be traced back to its source. What’s more, by knowing the source, immediate action can be taken to interrupt the pirate stream while the event is still going.

So, how do you go about making watermarking ubiquitous?

Video Watermarking in the Device Ecosystem

Chipset Integrations

Set-Top Boxes

NexGuard watermarking is already deployed on STB based on chipsets from Broadcom, ST Micro and MStar, and pre-integration is also done with Ali, HiSilicon, Synaptics (formerly Marvell) and Telechips. The solution ensures fast time to market and with limited integration effort to enable the watermarking feature in the STB.


We recently announced our partnership with Sigma Designs for their next-generation TV chip, capable of UHD and High-Dynamic Range.

Video Watermarking in the Server Ecosystem

Fragment-based workflow


Server-Side Integrations


Live Encoder Support

For scalability, the NexGuard Streaming watermark is applied in two steps. The first step is performed during content encoding. Several encoder vendors have already integrated the NexGuard preprocessor SDK and others are forthcoming

CDN Caching of Fragments

Once the watermarked fragments have been generated by the live encoder, then can be packaged for the appropriate ABR protocol, DRM-wrapped, and distributed to your CDN of choice

Streaming Manifest Customization

During session initiation, a unique payload (such as a session or transaction ID) is used to create a custom signature for each stream. This is performed by our SmartEmbedder library, added as a step to the manifest file generation workflow. This payload can be recovered using NexGuard’s Detection Portal

Download the Datasheet

Live Detection for Session Teardown


Live Detection


Monitoring is the Key

Services that monitor the internet to find live streams can be granted access to the NexGuard Live Detection service.

Non-Stop Detection

When fed with a constant stream of video, the Live Detection Service begins looking for a watermark payload and within minutes, returns the unique identifier for the source of the pirate stream.

Strike While it's Hot

Armed with the exact source of the stream, the monitoring company can notify the provider (whether MVPD, OTT service or app vendor) with the unique ID extracted in the watermark. Once the offending session has been interrupted, all streams originating from that source are also stopped.

Device-Side Watermarking With Our Technology Partners




Network-Side Watermarking With These Solutions