The weak link in OTT

Having been involved in OTT for many a year it was always obvious to anyone working in the industry that the whole DRM system is mostly a waste of time and money. This is the system that the movie industry forces on the OTT industry through lobbying that has driven up the cost of everything.

The idea being that if you pay for DRM that at least if anything happens, meaning someone steals a stream, you can say you are covered by so and so’s DRM. Essentially DRM is like insurance.

However, if you have ever worked in the OTT industry, the general security around how movies are sent around would floor you. Companies mail hard drives around, ship DVD’s, put movies on Google drive and all sorts of file transfer methods that are semi secure or not even remotely secure.

But since all these systems are run by people, usually any sort of leakage starts from the inside and involves people paying for access. Or, there is just a lack of security and any system that is based on people will usually have a flaw or someone makes a simple mistake which will allow a sophisticated tech person a chance to steal stuff.

In this specific case it sounds like the hacker got into the post production studio’s system and was able to take the episodes. These episodes probably were not even completed or ready to be streamed. Around the emerging markets there is quite a racket for copying the movies and selling them to pirates while they are being transferred around, supposedly in safe hands, but in places like India it is quite common for the film canisters to be dropped off at the pirates on the way to the cinemas.

I am sure Netflix is pissed and will be interesting to see if they figure this one out. As more and more media moves to online only – my guess is this type of situation will happen again. It also brings to light the issue in companies like Netflix realising all episodes at once since in order to do this all the shows have to be ready to go. This means all the shows are sitting there if someone gains acccess where in a normal TV show- they are being made as you watch or getting finished as you watch.

Singapore as a hub

Interesting post from Matt W at EF ::

Lots to parse in this but I generally agree in that the city is primed for potential and the big stuff is yet to come but we are on the cusp of it.

SeedPlus got a mention so I will just call that out but there is much more in the article than that. I personally like the section on Singapore as a hub:

3. There’s power in being a hub

I made the mistake of starting early conversations with: “What’s the Singapore venture scene like?” A simple question, but it immediately showed my ignorance. You can’t properly assess Singapore without taking all of Southeast Asia into account, because the two are cosmically intertwined. Investment strategy isn’t limited to the 277.6 mi² area of the island. It’s regional from day one. Singapore has achieved a remarkable amount in just 50 years, and it has done a lot of that by partnering with the rest of the world. International legal standards and advantageous tax treatment have made Singapore the de facto Southeast Asian hub for many businesses. So while there’s a lot of money in the small island nation, that cash is flowing to Vietnam, India, Malaysia and a host of fast-growing countries. The inverse is true for talent. Many of the region’s best minds flock to Singapore to build their startup HQ, and then attack their local market for dominance. This is, in no small part, one of the driving reasons EF set up shop there.

My relocation to Singapore after years of being around other parts of Asia was solely based on this premise – Singapore makes for a great hub and I think this is huge for startups and for VC’s. Of course no place is perfect and there are people that disagree but that doesn’t change the appeal of Singapore for me and most of the folks I work with.

An exit is usually an acquisition

I don’t have the slides for this and wish I did but the video is worth a watch.

Startups don’t always talk about it but most exits are via mergers or acquisitions. Yes – founders can dream about going all the way but that doesn’t noramlly happen. If the startup even makes its, cause going bust is the normal route, the path to exit won’t always be an IPO or making piles of cash.

Founders shouldn’t avoid an acquisition as an exit route, in fact it might very well be the most lucrative outcome.

All that aside though, if founders think companies are bought then they are in for another surprise. Companies are sold which means you need to know how to sell your company by understanding which companies might buy you and figuring out how to navigate corp dev.

Startups should start thinking about how all this works earlier than they normally do.