Dec 5, 2010

"TV Everywhere": Google acquires Widevine to support adaptive streaming video, including DRM content.

This evening I followed a tweet to an article written by Ben Parr, of Mashable:    

Google Acquires Some Powerful Video-Streaming and DRM Technology.   According to Google,  Widevine's adaptive video streaming technology monitors and adapts to bandwidth changes as it delivers content.  This technology make accessing high-quality video content across the web more seamless, consistent, and convenient across platforms and locations, and is known as "TV Everywhere". 

A range of  technologies developed by Widevane in the recent past look like they will be of benefit to Google. Widevine's intellectual property portfolio covers a lot of ground.  The patent claims distribution, as outlined on the company's website, includes realtime piracy detection and response fingerprinting, forensic watermarking, media tracking, evolving detectors (monitoring and response to piracy), security renewals, QOS, cross domain content security, secure processor technology, trusted computing technology, grooming/transcoding, DCAS (Downloadable Conditional Access System), device certificates, application level encryption, adaptive streaming, and usage controls.  

Google will have a wide reach with the acquisition of Widevane, as it plans to continue the company's partnerships with the "entire ecosystem" of businesses related to digital video content in some way.   As more people access web-based video from smart phones and related devices, and discover they can access video whenever they want, the demand for Google's cloud computing support will grow, along with the need for additional centers and support to handle the demand for multimedia content and related software applications.

The acquisition of Widevane might provide Google with a great deal of power over the next generation of cable/airwaves. If so, this will be a boon to advertisers, if done well. As it is, viewers must wait patiently to watch an ad for 15 minutes or so before viewing a short video clip on websites such as the Wall Street Journal. For some, this just a minor annoyance, and certainly not as bad as garish banner ads and pop-ups.  Marketers will have additional opportunities to reach potential customers through the use of product placement/embedded ads when people access more longer-playing videos and movies on-the-go.  The technology exists to create customized embedded ads in videos based on data collected about the viewer, which is right up Google's alley.  

Google's Data (on us) + Widevane = ?  

A recent post on the Google Blog explains the acquisition of Widevane in detail: On demand is in demand: we've agreed to acquire Widevane (12/03/10). According to the information from the website, "Widevine is a privately held corporation headquartered in Seattle, WA, funded by Constellation VenturesCisco SystemsCharter VenturesDai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd(DNP)Pacesetter Capital GroupThe Phoenix PartnersTELUS (NYSE: TU) and VantagePoint Venture Partners." 

5 Reasons Google Bought Widevine -Ryan Lawler, GigaOm, 12/3/10
Google to acquire Widevine - Heaven sent or a Devil's Deal? (Includes list of Widevine's partners/customers) - Paul Johnson, AppMarketTV, 12/4/10
Google acquires Widevine - Colin Mann, Advanced Television, 12/4/10
Related Posts from Advanced Television

Are we moving to cloud-based DRM ? Take a look at the content & links below:
Jacqui Cheng, Ars Technica  (Interesting- 122 comments)


The Battle For Your Digital Living Room: Apple, google and others are vying hard for this valuable real estate -Knowledge @Wharton, Forbes, 9/17/10

Why is this important to me?

I'm working on some ideas for web-based interactive educational videos and other interactive multimedia applications designed to be accessed across various screens and devices.  Technology is changing rapidly, and to move forward, I need to know more as I make decisions in the future.  I'll return to this topic in future posts as I research this topic further.

Thanks to Pawel Solyga (Solydzajs) for the tweet that sent me down this rabbit hole ; )  
FYI: Pawel is a software engineer, focused on next gen mobile apps.  He is the VP of Technology at Numote. He also is a NUI Group co-founder.  


Paul Johnson said...

Hi Lynn - thank you so much for reading my piece on this story. You linked my own filing cabinet blog to the story:

Google to acquire Widevine - Heaven sent or a Devil's Deal? (Includes list of Widevine's partners/customers) - Paul Johnson, Adventures in Media, 12/4/10

This is my filing cabinet, and the story is running officially on which is the news site I am editor for. Would appreciate it if you could link the story there instead.

Best regards

Lynn Marentette said...