Associated Press (AP), the global news agency, has extended its multiyear contact with Civolution, the Netherlands-based provider of technology identifying and monetizing digital content, for TV monitoring. AP will continue using Civolution's Teletrax TV monitoring system to track broadcast usage of its video news content on a story-specific and real-time basis across the word. The system informs AP what content is aired, how long for and who used it, exploiting a combination of digital fingerprinting and video watermarking for identification and tracking.
The difference between these two related technologies is that watermarking involves insertion of a unique identifier, while fingerprinting relies on identification of digital patterns already present in the digital video stream. In video watermarking, a pattern is embedded in the content that is imperceptible to the eye and resistant to tampering or deletion. By embedding a unique watermark into video material, content owners can identify individual copies of their materials at different stages of the distribution cycle. This can be used to identify the source of pirated copies, as well as for monitoring consumption for a variety of applications including audience measurement, and triggering actions such as playing a targeted advert.
Digital fingerprinting identifies some unique features of an audio or video stream for storing in a database and use for subsequent identification. It does not modify the content, which means that fingerprinting, unlike watermarking, cannot be used to identify a point in the content distribution chain, but it has the advantage of being, by definition, totally indelible because nothing was added in the first place. Fingerprint recognition may involve significant computation since there could be a large database to search through, whereas watermarking just requires a single comparison for identification.
However, watermarking and fingerprinting work well in combination, as at AP, since each can be used where it best matches the application. In fact, AP has extended the agreement for use of Teletrax to the sports agency SNTV, which is a joint venture between AP and IMG Media. SNTV is a sports news video agency, providing bulletins, highlights and breaking news around the clock, and will utilize Teletrax to analyze the reach and performance of its sports stories, and improve management of inventory and resources.