Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Growth for Conditional Access Technology

Conditional Access (CA) technology -- the protection of multimedia content by requiring consumers to meet certain criteria for access -- is set to generate revenues approaching $1.4 billion this year.

A new study from ABI Research forecasts CA revenues to fluctuate in a stable range slightly below that figure as far as 2013, with telcos taking an increasingly large slice of the pie at the expense of the cable and satellite industries.

According to industry analyst Zippy Aima, "Cable and satellite aren't going away, but the options now offered by new deployments of telco TV -- including interactive and on-demand content, time-shifting and place-shifting -- are generating a buzz that drives demand for their premium content to a wider audience."

A number of factors are converging to drive this market. The increasing prevalence of broadband networks and the ease with which digital media can be cloned and distributed combine great opportunity and great risk for the owners of premium content, raising security to a high priority.

In Asia, with its high rates of piracy, this is of concern to governments too, and they are beginning to take action. The gradually increasing ability, in wealthy households, to distribute content to multiple devices around the home intensifies the need for conditional access and digital rights management (DRM).

Meanwhile, other forces impede CA's market development. The process of digitizing the world's content backlog, as well as new products, has been slow, because the levels of investment required are high. A lack of standards has impeded market growth, and in some areas government regulation has acted as a brake as well.

Consumers naturally prefer unprotected content, too. Aima warns, "Players in this market need to create more awareness about content protection mechanisms and the advantages they offer. They should also develop solutions that seamlessly integrate with content delivery mechanisms and do not interfere with the rights of the consumer."

The new study examines the role of conditional access technology in the pay TV market. It also covers factors driving and restraining the growth of the market.

The report discusses the available solutions as applicable to cable, telco and satellite, and profiles the vendors offering those solutions. Pricing trends and market forecasts, which include forecasts by region and market segment, are also included.