Title: VP Product Marketing and Alliances, SeaChange International
Broadband background: Rosenstein has been involved in the video and high-technology industries for 20 years, with activities spanning market development, sales and product engineering, including more than 10 years of experience in interactive TV and VOD. Currently, he is responsible for marketing SeaChange’s software activities, as well as initiating and managing worldwide partnerships.
Are you an SCTE member? If so, when did you join?
I’ve been a member of the SCTE for three to four years now. The value of being a member and contributing to the SCTE is clearly demonstrated by many of my SeaChange colleagues who have long been on board, including former SCTE chairman Yvette Kanouff.
In your recent CT feature on digital rights management (DRM), you note that the digital content revolution is changing business relationships among content owners, distributors and consumers. Can you elaborate?
The digital content revolution has personalized and fostered one-on-one relationships between the producers and subscribers. It has also made the job for emerging producers to reach subscribers more difficult because of the dramatic increase in content. It has become oversaturated. Commercially, it has also made it more challenging for subscribers to navigate these choices and find what will entertain them.
It seems that part of the content revolution is cultural – ordinary people generating and sharing their own content. How does DRM apply here? Who actually owns such content?
DRM allows for everything. It affords a person like you and me the opportunity to get into the content business and not the content charity business. In the past, it’s been an expensive proposition to get into the distribution business, as the barriers were high. DRM has knocked down these barriers for distribution and monetization. Historically, you needed to own distribution rights or distribution chains, such as retail, if you wanted to make money on content. Using DRM and digital content, everyone has the canal to go towards monetizing and making a living out of generating and sharing their own content.
Speaking of ordinary people – the subscribers – how do we sell them on DRM without running into the PR problem this created for the music recording industry?
It’s all about setting expectations. People have become accustomed to doing what they wanted with content, such as copying content to a cassette or CD. When those rights were taken away due to aggressive DRM enforcements, subscribers were furious. Now, we are flipping that model upside down. Ordinary people, whether they are subscribing to content or producing content, can find that DRM is an enabler to providing themselves access to content or affording themselves increased exposure.
Given the many possible distribution channels for video content, is it even plausible to have one "be all, end all" DRM solution? If so, which do you think is the front-runner?
I think we’re hopeful that there will be an end-all-be-all interoperability between DRM solutions, but not necessarily a single DRM solution. In my mind, the front-runner would be the one that begins enabling interoperability across multiple vendor devices, and there doesn’t appear to be an apparent, clear leader there.
It’s hard to talk about DRM and conditional access without also talking about CableCards. What are you hearing about their performance in the field? Any significant limitations or problems? Any pleasant surprises?
Most of the issues seem to be with the lack of deployment experience in the field. In terms of limitations, there seem to be some issues with the cable industry’s desire to widely deploy switched digital video and how that will work with cable. It’s not clear that CableCards address an operator’s ability to deploy switched digital video. That might be a problem.
Many cable folks seem to think that CableCards will be only a temporary annoyance until the FCC can be convinced to allow better solutions. Is that a realistic view? Or are we likely to be stuck with CableCards for a long time to come?
I believe most technologists within the industry, whether it’s within cable or consumer electronics, would like to believe that there’s a software-based solution that will eventually trump or displace CableCards. But working that through the FCC and all of the other interested parties could take quite a while.