In 2018, M&A activity in broadcasting made headlines with big name deals featuring the likes of AT&T, Disney, and Comcast.

As substantiated in a report on mergers and acquisitions in the media sector, published by researcher Karen Donders at Vrije Universiteit Brussel*:

“these moves have made it clear that streaming companies like Amazon and Netflix will face a resilient linear TV sector.”

A recent article from IBC’s blog series on mergers and acquisitions in broadcasting identifies two potential causes behind increased M&A activity:

“there seem to be two main drivers behind the scenes: the desire to scale as a direct response to the threat of Netflix et al; and the desire to acquire new technology, or at least collaborate on its development, to address the same issue.”


“Global platforms like Netflix, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are exerting enormous pressure on traditional standalone media models, and driving the need for scale, integration and differentiation even as they position themselves as the single address for every conceivable consumer need”
– LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff in his year-end letter to investors.

As the Custos Team prepares to attend IBC 2019 between 13 and 17 September in Amsterdam (You too? Let’s meet up!), we’re reflecting on the role we play in helping broadcasting and mediatech providers achieve both scale and industry-differentiated content security with our unique combination of:

  1. robust forensic watermarking
  2. blockchain technology

Our recent experience as a late seed-stage content security startup is consistent with IBC’s assertion that big players are driven to partner up with enterprises that’ll help them (a) scale globally at minimal expense, and/or (b) acquire, white label, or integrate the APIs of edge-technologies, for example – the Custos Core API, which helps establish market differentiation through competitive content security (i.e. a drastic reduction of cost-cutting piracy).  

Use Case #1 – Scaling Media Distribution, Securely, with a Global, Decentralized Content Tracking Solution

One of our enterprise clients in Asia uses a white-labeled version of our turnkey SaaS platform for video watermarking and distribution, Screener Copy, to distribute thousands of titles to hundreds of stakeholders across the post-production and buying phases of their content’s lifecycle.

By embedding unique cryptocurrency incentives in all copies of their media containing one of Custos’ forensic watermarks, we’ve managed to help this client identify and take action against two leaks in his content distribution networks – so far.

We’ve achieved this by designing our watermarks to be readable by a publicly available extractor tool, and incentivising a global network of both external and internal bounty hunters to extract the Bitcoin incentives embedded within our 256 bit watermark payloads.

Before Custos designed this content security solution, if you wanted to use forensic watermarking to protect your media from piracy and copyright infringement, you had two choices: look for pirated content yourself, or pay a company that specializes in (centralised) pirated content detection to do it. The former is tedious, the latter doesn’t scale.

Using a decentralized leak detection model, Custos moves media monitoring to the crowd by decentralizing the search for leaked content to human bounty hunters across the globe, so we can pick up things machines would miss, and you can enjoy 24/7 global, online and offline monitoring – even into the dark web, behind paywalled pirated content, private file sharing groups, and into campus networks.

In addition, Custos employs AWS Cloud Storage so that clients can use our (or their own) S3 buckets to archive and organize large catalogs of premium or sensitive content. Custos watermarking also runs completely on the cloud, to ensure scalability and global reach.

Use Case #2 – Custos Partners with Presoft Solutions to Integrate IBM’s Aspera with Custos Anti-Piracy Blockchain Platform for Fast File Transfe

Though not technically a merger nor acquisition, our recent partnership with Presoft Solutions is another experience congruent with IBC’s commentary on M&As being driven by the desire to acquire and integrate complementary technologies.

Paul Gupta, CEO of PreSoft Solutions stated,

“we look forward to our partnership and are glad to be working with a company as innovative company as Custos Media Technologies. We believe that the Custos state-of-the-art anti-piracy blockchain solution is the most innovative solution in the market today for its ability to protect any digital type content, not just video. Moreover, as an IBM Integration Business Partner, we believe adding Aspera FAST file transfer to Custos platform will further enhance its functionality and market presence, not only in North America but globally as well. Digital piracy is a huge growing problem, and Custos has the right solution to make a significant and positive impact.”

Concluding thoughts in the run-up to IBC 2019


Because the Custos forensic watermarking technology stack is made up of individual yet seamlessly integrated components, the potential applications of our technology are diverse.

At the NAB show in Vegas back in April this year, we made meaningful connections with a variety of stakeholders across the media and entertainment space – all looking to solve the piracy problem by integrating with our technology to detect leaks when they happen, and trace them back to their source. We’re looking forward to doing the same at IBC 2019 this September.

Interested to learn more about how we can help you solve the piracy problem for your media distribution or broadcasting business?

Pre-book a chat at IBC 2019 with a senior member of our team today.

*source: Evens, T. & Donders, K. (update from 2019). Mergers and acquisitions in TV broadcasting and distribution: challenges for competition, industrial and media policy. Telematics and Informatics (special issue: Television distribution – economic dimensions, emerging policies), 33(2), 674-682.