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Next generation service entitlement platform


The restless growth of digital contents, everywhere connectivity, cloud services and the proliferation of multiple devices have increased the user`s expectation on content consumption: users expect to purchase and consume contents everywhere, watch them on any device and have them synchronized on all screens.

The attempt to satisfy all these expectations makes digital media management incredibly complex; just to give an idea, in traditional video distribution, the average number of video formats for a single movie is 150. In this new ubiquitous world, where possible scenarios (location, device type, video quality, subscriptions, etc.) have grown exponentially, this number rises to more than 8,000.

digital formats.jpg

This complexity made the market shift from the monetization and management of the content’s possession to the content’s entitlements (just the right to access content). To “consume” a content, the users don’t need to buy it any more, they just need to purchase the right to watch it. They don’t even need to download the content on their device. Any time users want to watch their contents, the system checks the users` and their device’s “right” (if he is entitled) to access the content and provides it in streaming or in download mode on the selected device. Users can watch their preferred TV show in HD on their Smart TV when home, on SD on their tablets when under wifi coverage, or a low quality format on their smart phones when traveling.


Users are not the sole beneficiaries of this new scenario; also - Content & Service providers (OTT) and Communication providers) get great benefits:


  • For content owners, managing “entitlements“ rather than specific formats have two benefits:
    • Simplifies content management. An entitlement groups all possible digital formats for a specific content, reducing the number of objects to manage
    • allows an autonomous content distribution by Communication providers (Cable operators can distribute contents at home, on mobile or on WiFi in mobility). An example is Xfinity, who distributes its content on Comcast cable network, but also on other Operator networks.
  • Communication providers can use entitlements o enhance their services. They can bundle their services with OTT services to create new and more attractive packages. For example, Rogers in Canada is bundling its video services with other video providers to create richer video packages.


Traditional entitlement platforms were created in the era of cable televisions and are relative simple solutions: they were meant to manage only TV services entitlements. Applications access the entitlement platform asking if a specific subscriber can “consume” or not the requested contents. Entitlement platform checks in its database the subscriber`s entitlement status and provides back the authorization.


The adoption of the entitlement model by telecommunication operators to support ubiquitous content entitlement is opening new business scenarios and relationships, but, at the same time, it requires new entitlement systems. The next generation of entitlement systems must be capable of:


  • providing entitlement to a wide variety of applications, not only cable services and not only Operator-owned. E.g. Telco operators can use entitlement to allow roamer to accede their internet and wifi services.
  • providing entitlement to their parties` services, such OTT services.
  • federating and/or consolidating subscriber`s data spread across the whole company. Telco subscribers are not uniquely defined in one system: their profiles can be stored in different Telco systems, according to the service they provide.
  • “mashing-up” subscriber `s data in several virtual profiles, as not all applications need the subscriber`s same profile information.
  • authorizing non-telco subscribers to sell contents and services also to non-telco users
  • dynamically and in real time managing rules and policies to detect and authorize unmanaged device (tablets, smartphones, PCs, SmartTV, etc)
  • managing real time authorization rules based on multiple parameters such as device type, subscription profile, location, n. of active devices, roaming status, etc. E.g. the entitlement of unmanaged devices can imply real time controls such as:
  • authentication on the device requesting the services,
  • tracking and enforcing of the maximum number of devices allowed.
  • Network status and location information
  • Providing a rich set of analytical information on how subscribers (in all their “identities”) consume the services, and recommendations on new promotions and offers to present subscribers


The main features of next generation entitlement solutions are shown in the table below.


Functions description

Traditional Entitlement system

Next gen Entitlement system


Only Telco subscribers

Telco and non-Telco subscribers. Telco services can be sold to non- telco subscriber (e.g. Telco operator can sell its video services via App to anyone; or it can sell internet services to roamers)


Only managed devices, that are the devices distributed by the telco operators

Managed and unmanaged devices.

Multi-screen is supported


Only telco services can be entitled

Both telco`s and third parties` services can be entitled

Digital format supported

Only single screen mode supported (generally the home TV) and few digital format (the one used by the home TV)

Support for multiple digital formats. End user devices require different contents formats, so Services Entitlement platform must support large number of content formats

Authorization rules

Only static authorization rules/policies based on subscription.

Services entitlement is just an on-off switch check (Conditional Access)


Dynamic and real time rules based on several parameters such as device type, subscription profile, location, n. of active device, roaming status, etc.

Indeed, the entitlement on unmanaged devices implies real time controls:

·      authentication on the device requesting the services,

·      tracking and enforcing of the maximum number of devices allowed.

·      Network status and location information

·      …..


That means, entitlement system has to work closely with the device`s session-control system.

Subscriber information

User data (subscription information) are static.

Generally it is provide one subscriber profile only (static data model)

User data are federated/consolidated from different data sources.

Multiple subscriber profiles are supported contemporarily (virtual view)

Virtual identity

No support

Supported. Subscriber can be identified and presented in several identify

Service applications supported (access interfaces)

Few applications are supported. No protocol support to entitle external applications

Large protocol support to connect any application (internal and external to telco) to the entitlement platform.

Back end applications supported (provisioning interfaces)

No or limited number of provisioning protocol supported)

Large number of provisioning protocol supported such as: Diameter, LDAP, HTTP, JDBC, MAPI, LIF/MPL, …

Analytic tools

Subscriber and Services consumption

Subscriber and Services consumption


An example of architecture of a next generation entitlement platform is shown in the picture below.



Andrea Fabrizi
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." (Mark Twain)
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About the Author


I’m the Director of the Big Data and Analytics solution family for the Telecommunication market. My responsibilities include defining the strategic direction of our products, go-to-market, securing the business, manage Profit & Loss and turn around with success the Big Data Analytics in Telecommunication Industry. 20+ years of valuable experience in: building new business, strategy, delivery, partner channel, alliance, sales, marketing, product and people management in Big Data analytics and in Telecommunication

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