Cable has had a long and robust content delivery business, due in large part to its adaptability to change. Cable has gone from an all analog infrastructure to digital distribution which naturally led to other service offerings, such as Internet and telephony. Digital has also yielded the digital video recorder which is now an almost de facto offering, with far more than half of cable subscribers now opting for that feature. More recently, analysts have predicted some imminent struggles in the cable industry now that Internet streaming of content has gone mainstream. But predictions of cable operations crumbling as their own Internet service competes with their video offerings have proven to be invalid. Here’s why.

As the phenomenon of Internet streaming became a recognizable force, cable companies correctly realized that they are in an ideal position to compete there too – directly. Just like their new found competition, cable companies put up web sites and offered branded services, such as Comcast’s Xfinity. The thing that gives them an edge is that while their competition in this space has to cut content deals, cable companies already have content deals. Not just for movies, but for live broadcasts, sports, first run network series and features and premium channels such as HBO and Starz. Game on.

Couple content deals which explicitly permit DVR recording with an Internet distribution platform to complement first-party cable infrastructure and you have the potential to offer something that new Internet streaming entrants can only dream of – content portability. Content, recorded on the DVR, moving to other storage devices in the home and on to portable devices. This is a whole new world.

A key enabler for these fascinating new content experiences is DRM. DRM makes the content truly portable for the first time. Take a movie, delivered via streaming or download, protected by a DRM, and you have a portable, monetizable, new product, and this is the direction that some in the cable industry are moving.

Marlin DRM is the perfect technology ingredient that will help cable operators ride this wave. Marlin is robust and open, meaning that any company can join the developer community to maintain and evolve the technology. Licensing is through an organization made up of major companies, including Intertrust, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony. These qualities distinguish Marlin from all other DRM suppliers.

Marlin supports not only the traditional Internet streaming business model, it also supports download, super distribution and dynamic ad insertion. Marlin stands alone in supporting new business models with client software that doesn’t have to change. In Marlin, content rights are expressed semantically, so if an operator wants to change an existing business model, such as rental timeout, it can do so without updating their Marlin clients in the field. This makes Marlin not only a one-of-a-kind DRM technology, but a powerful enabler for an industry that thrives on adaptability.