26 Sep 2017
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UK-based Friend MTS looks to grow in India

MUMBAI: Friend MTS, a UK-based company which provides platform, channel and content protection services, is looking to grow in India.

Having set up an office in Chennai, the company feels there is a need in the market for players to use the services that it offers. “The digitisation process and the rapid growth of OTT services make this the perfect opportunity for us to grow in India,” says Friend MTS executive VP global sales and marketing Paul Hastings.

Paul-HastingsFriend MTS’ platform is automated and highly scalable. “We work with different kinds of content from movies to live sports. We work with both premium and long tail content. Content made years ago is still viewed today. We use a global monitoring platform to search for online piracy. We have forensics and enforcement tools. We can identify the person who is stealing the signal and then re-broadcasting it,” says Hastings.

Globally, Friend MTS works with content owners like Viacom and Paramount, sports rights holders such as the English Premier League, Serie A (Italian Football League), UFC, WWE, the International Olympic Committee and leading Hollywood studios. “We also protect tier one pay TV operators such as Sky, BT, nc+ (Poland) and OTE (Greece) delivered via satellite, cable and OTT,” says Hastings.

Rahul Nehra is spearheading Friend MTS’ operations in India. The company has tied up with Castle Media to help it understand the new and rapidly evolving digital landscape in India. For distribution in the South, it has a tie up with Novacom.

The company is already working with a broadcaster in India. It is also in talks with other broadcasters, pay TV platforms, OTT service providers, and the producers guild.

“We have spent the past six months developing relationships with various stakeholders. We have also spoken to music video rights holders. The response has been positive. We have different services for each of them like Linear and Studio. Because of content thieves, IP owners are losing a lot of money. The revenue gain would largely offset the cost of our service. A service like ours that operates on a 24×7 basis isn’t just there. Other services might look at Google links but there is finite scalability in that,” says Hastings.

The company can sweep across multiple countries for illegal consumption of content, which is important for Indian companies as 30-35% of their revenue comes from abroad due to the growing diaspora.

According to Nehra, a movie could lose more than half its revenue due to online piracy. By making use of Friend MTS technology, the movie producer can protect its theatrical revenues.

Friend MTS has a R&D center in Birmingham which focuses on coming up with new technologies for content protection. The company recently launched ASiD, a subscriber identification technology which helps in fighting against video piracy.

“ASiD uses a lightweight watermarking technology to identify originating subscriber accounts that are being used to retransmit live channels and events.
The technology can be implemented without any changes to the video delivery infrastructure, and enables accounts to be identified and video access blocked within just minutes,” explains Hastings.