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Thu Do Media's CEO and founder Nguyen Ngoc Han

Thu Do Media was officially established in 2010, when its CEO and founder Nguyen Ngoc Han was 30 years old.

Han and his co-workers began to research and develop online apps and games for mobile phones.

At that moment, in Vietnam, most technology firms just imported games from other countries to distribute in the home market, and there were very few companies developing games.

Following an uncommon path, Thu Do then focused on ensuring security.  Its games could protect and restore data in case of internet interruption when people are playing games.

The market was very favorable in 2010-2012, bringing great success to Thu Do media. Billiard Online, one of its products, for example, got 40 million downloads all over the globe. 

In 2013, when smartphones became popular, global distributors could distribute games globally and directly to the user.

With its advantage in content and data protection tools, Thu Do focused on making data protection products that meet international standards to sell to the global market.

At that time, when there were both opportunities and ‘storms’ which could sweep away immature businesses, Thu Do focused on providing solutions to the media sector.

Recalling the first operation period, Han said it was full of hardships. The first problem was that it didn’t have an ‘alliance’. He then persuaded mobile network operators to cooperate and share profits. The other problem was the workforce. Thu Do leaders had to visit technology universities to seek interns and pay them wages which were higher than the scholarships they expected from the schools.

Vietnamese pride

Thu Do is the first company in Southeast Asia with a DRM solution – Sigma DRM – successfully tested. Sigma DRM has added Vietnam to the list of countries which have global DRM solutions.

“There are only 12 companies in the world that can invent DRM solutions in the media sector. And Thu Do Media is on the same list as the ‘big guys’ such as IBM, Adoble, Apple, Google and Microsoft,” Han said.

Thu Do had to undergo a tough road to gain the achievement. After successfully inventing a solution, Thu Do had to have the solution tested and recognized by international inspection prestigious institutions. The company then sent an email to one of the institutions, but there was no reply. 

Later, with support from a Vietnamese famous in the global TV and media sector, the company got the nod from the inspection institution. After a very strict inspection, Sigma DRM was successfully inspected and recognized as meeting global standards.

According to Han, Thu Do Media is the only company in the world that provides comprehensive OTT media solutions together with DRM. This is because the other ‘big guys’ on the list of 20 companies with DRM only specialize in developing products in certain fields. 

Thu Do’s comprehensive solution can satisfy basic requirements.

“We design a menu with many different dishes for diners. They can choose one or many dishes in the menu, i.e. one or many services of the comprehensive solution, instead of having to choose different services from different solution providers to create a system of their own,” he said.

Recently, a problem occurred related to Google’s Widevine DRM solution: hackers publicized all the source codes on the internet, resulting in lack of copyright protection for content on 4 billion devices of Android ecosystem and 2.6 billion devices using Chrome.

The incident once again showed the strength of Sigma DRM: it could resist attacks thanks to the superior security capability of a third protection shield. According to Cartesian, Thu Do’s Sigma Active Observer-SAO is the first DRM solution that has a third protection shield.

In early 2023, Thu Do took the first steps to reach out to the global market. It plans to enter the US market first, and then Southeast Asia.

Binh Minh