European Space Agency



The "Multi-PID" project has developed and demonstrated a state-of-the-art system to allow multiple DVB broadcast satellite channels to be filtered, processed and monitored in order to supply content playout information to be reported back to the content owners.

In the world of broadcasting, media organisations such as music companies, production companies and advertisers generate huge revenues from their valuable content. These companies are desperate to have an independent, fast and easy to use method of knowing when and how often their products are being played on the broadcast channels. The advent of digital audio watermarking now allows media companies to insert inaudible watermarks into their products. In addition, satellite offers a comprehensive and cost-effective method of monitoring all of the main European broadcast channels, especially when compared with the enormous expense of rolling out a pan-European terrestrial monitoring network.

The objectives of the Multi-PID project were therefore to:

  • Collate and analyse the requirements of the content owners;

  • Develop a system architecture for the Multi-PID monitoring system;

  • Implement the Multi-PID system and operate a pilot monitoring service;

  • Evaluate feedback from content owners and migrate the Multi-PID system to a full commercial service.


The key issues for the project were:

  • Ensuring that the needs of the music companies can be supported by the system and ensuring that other content owner requirements could be built into the system at the commercial stage

  • Allowing flexibility in reporting to give the users the information they require in a form they require, when they require

  • Designing the Multi-PID system with a low cost base to allow a competitively priced commercial follow-on service to be developed.


Content owners are desperate to have an independent, fast and easy to use method of knowing when and where their products are being played on the main broadcast channels. Satellite potentially offers the most cost-effective and reliable solution to the broadcast monitoring needs, especially when compared with the enormous expense of rolling out a pan-European terrestrial monitoring network or the more traditional method of numerous lowly motivated students listening and recording airplays!

The constellation of European broadcast satellites, including Astra and HotBird, carry over 650 radio channels from around Europe, in addition to all the main TV broadcasts channels. The Multi-PID project has developed and demonstrated the key watermarking and channel processing technology to create an extremely cost-effective method of monitoring the numerous satellite channels.

The Multi-PID system will therefore offer content owners from across Europe a cheap, accurate and easy to use method of monitoring when and where their content is being played. During the trial the project team monitored over 100 broadcast channels simultaneously and detected over 8,000 (and counting!) individual playouts of watermarked content, on both TV and radio channels. The project pilot highlighted the accuracy of the watermarking system and the high reliability of the wider monitoring system. The project pilot also demonstrated the reliable detection of TV adverts and even short "jingles" from radio stations that had used the watermarked content.

Whilst the pilot of the Multi-PID system concentrated mainly on demonstrating the benefits of these monitoring services to the music industry, the concepts can be easily expanded to cover the monitoring needs of advertisers, programme makers, film studios and any other content owners. The Multi-PID project consortium members are now working together to provide a commercial and cost-effective service for other music companies and



The Multi-PID system comprises two main elements:

  • Watermark insertion system;

  • Satellite broadcast monitoring and reporting system.

click for larger image

The multi-PID system inserts inaudible digital watermarks into the broadcast content and then detects the 'playout' of this content using its dedicated monitoring hub e.g.

Watermarking System
The watermarking was performed using a third party software application. During the content mastering or reproduction, an in audible watermark is inserted into the content. This watermark is designed to survive the processing and compression / re-compression within the distribution and broadcast chains. The Multi-PID project chose to perform the pilot demonstration with a watermarking system from Ishce Limited of the UK (one of the project partners), which has developed one of the world's highest quality audio watermarking systems.

Monitoring and Reporting System
Once the watermarks have been inserted into the content at the production stage, the key task for the system is to monitor the broadcast of the content through the detection and processing of the watermarks within the broadcast streams.

The DVB stream from the satellite is received using a standard DVB-based receiver. The DVB receiver then filters the appropriate audio streams (PIDs) and passes these streams to the watermark decoders. The watermark decoders detect the watermark codes that uniquely identify the content. These "detection events" are then passed on to the Reporting System. The users (content owner


The project was divided into a series of phases, culminating in a pilot trial involving content owners in a 'live' monitoring system:

  • Business Processes and Requirements Analysis : segmented the content market and analysing the requirements of each sector;

  • Multi-PID Architecture : defined the system architecture for the Multi-PID satellite monitoring and reporting system;

  • Multi-PID Development and I&T : developed the system modules and integrated the system in preparation for the trials;

  • Pilot Trials : performed live trials, with content owners watermarking content and the Multi-PID system monitoring and reporting the 'playout' of this content across the major European satellite broadcast channels;

  • Evaluation and Planning : evaluated feedback from users and prepared for the migration to a fully commercial service.

Current status

The project commenced on October 2003 and was completed in April 2005. the project included an 8-month pilot trial of the monitoring service from August 2004 to April 2005.

Following the success of the pilot trial demonstration with V2 Music Group, the project team are continuing operations with V2 and the consortium are working together to bring the commercial monitoring service to market for other music companies and content owners.

Status date

Friday, June 20, 2008 - 12:36