The lean-back experience of watching television has radically changed over the last few years. Today people want to watch content in their own time and place. The proliferation of set top boxes (STB) in homes evidences this, as people want to watch video on demand or on a time-shifted schedule. Today, more than a device to watch films/series, sports or even play games, the STB has become an interactive device providing multiple services.

Content owners, cable and network operators as well as advertisers can all benefit in such advances in the technology. With the Internet or connected STB device, the television set is now becoming a far more advanced entertainment companion.

Digital watermarks offer new opportunity for content owners, advertisers and more generally marketers looking for new ways to engage consumers with richer media experiences from the STB and Television set.


Digital watermarks are imperceptible digital codes or data that are easily embedded into media content. Embedded within and throughout the content, the watermark can uniquely identify each instance of content and carry a number of information dedicated to each piece of content. Watermarks can be encrypted and secured so that only authorized reading devices can detect and access the related data. Digital watermarks are highly robust and will remain in the content regardless of how it is cropped, morphed, scaled, compressed or re-compressed.

The data carried in the digital watermark can rapidly be cross correlated with other content or actions. As such, upon identification of the watermark a specific action or even piece of content can be triggered, allowing truly personal interactivity. For instance, while watching a scene in a movie, a specific call to action (press the ‘red button’ on your remote to find out more) could be triggered while viewing. Equally a precise and targeted ad, or promotion, could be triggered. Instead of a commercial appearing at regular times, the commercial could be triggered according to what content is being watched and at specific times within the content (even on a time-shifted schedule).

Similarly, digital watermarks could be used for blocking specific content. Upon recognition and identification of a particular piece of content, the content could be blocked. Such applications can prove extremely useful for the internet, such as blocking a copyrighted piece of audio or video from being uploaded to a website. Additionally, to ensure child safety and prevent children from being exposed to adult content, specific rules could be set up by the parent to warn, restrict or even block viewing of such content.

Triggering action based on the content helps companies to…

  • Tailor content or a call to action linked to specific content
  • Enable enhanced customer experiences and interactive actions
  • Generate new revenues from advertising
  • Block illicit or copyrighted content from being uploaded
  • Warn or block adult content for child safety
  • Analyze behaviors based on real-time consumer actions

Learn More

  • Download “Ensuring Child Safety in a Digital World — A Comprehensive Solutions to Parental Controlled Viewing Across Devices and Platforms” White Paper (PDF, 240kb)
  • DWA White Papers

Member companies who offer, “Content Filtering,” solutions: