The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for stronger and more comprehensive cybersecurity measures to protect against cyber threats and attacks, and growing importance of technologies such as access management systems, subscription management platforms, payment gateways, and content management systems. These technologies work together to create a robust and effective content paywall ecosystem, ensuring secure access to premium content, managing subscriptions, processing payments, and providing valuable insights to content providers. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Cybersecurity: Content paywall. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, byzantine fault tolerant blockchain, secure multi-party computing, and decentralised identity framework are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Secure hash algorithms (SHA), zero knowledge proof, and private blockchains are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, firmware security, multimedia signal encryption, and biometric authentication, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cybersecurity in the technology industry

Content paywall is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

Content paywall refers to a mechanism where users are required to pay or subscribe to gain access to digital content. It serves as a means to monetise content by either charging a fee directly or requiring users to subscribe to an online service. Content paywalls enable publishers to generate revenue and exercise control over access to their content.-

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of content paywall.

Key players in content paywall – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to content paywall

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
nChain 241 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 91 Unlock Company Profile
Pendrell 58 Unlock Company Profile
Intertrust Technologies 56 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 50 Unlock Company Profile
LG 34 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 33 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 23 Unlock Company Profile
Coinbase Global 20 Unlock Company Profile
Xperi 20 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 19 Unlock Company Profile
Mastercard 18 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
Global Tel*Link 16 Unlock Company Profile 15 Unlock Company Profile
Digital Asset 15 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 14 Unlock Company Profile
Ballet Global 12 Unlock Company Profile
Inveniam Capital Partners 12 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 12 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 12 Unlock Company Profile
Digimarc 12 Unlock Company Profile
PayPal 11 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 10 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 10 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 10 Unlock Company Profile
Universal Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 8 Unlock Company Profile
Barclays 7 Unlock Company Profile
JPMorgan Chase 7 Unlock Company Profile
Shinhan Financial Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Diamond Standard 6 Unlock Company Profile
China Merchants Bank 6 Unlock Company Profile
Corner Banca 6 Unlock Company Profile
Compellent Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 6 Unlock Company Profile
Value-Added Communications 6 Unlock Company Profile
OX Labs 6 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Capital One Financial 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ngrave.IO 5 Unlock Company Profile
R3 5 Unlock Company Profile
MC Familiengesellschaft 5 Unlock Company Profile
Biometric Blockchain 5 Unlock Company Profile
Coinplug 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 5 Unlock Company Profile
CME Group 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Swiss blockchain technology company nChain is one of the leading patent filers in content paywall. The company’s patents are aimed at an invention related to blockchain technologies such as the Bitcoin blockchain and the tokenisation of assets or entities. It is particularly suited for implementing a payroll on a blockchain platform and comprises a method and system of transferring cryptocurrency from a first node to a second node.

Both nodes are associated with a payroll and have a respective asymmetric cryptography pair, with each pair including a master private key and a master public key. Respective additional private and public keys may be determined based on the master private key, master public key and a generator value at each node. The additional private and public keys may form a hierarchical structure. A common secret may be determined at each of the nodes based on the additional private and public keys. The common secret may be used to securely transmit confidential information across a communications network.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include SoftBank Group and Pendrell.

By geographic reach, eBay leads the pack, followed by LG and nChain. In terms of application diversity, Digimarc holds the top position, followed by Xperi and Huawei.

Content paywalls comes with considerations regarding audience reach and conversion rates to strike the right balance between free and premium content to attract and retain subscribers.

To further understand how cybersecurity is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity – Thematic Research.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.