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Online viewing has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years with double-digit growth in the video on demand (VOD), linear (live sports, events, and so on), and simulcast (multi-transmission) streaming formats.
Nearly 70% of traditional TV viewers have switched to over-the-top (OTT) formats. While advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) and transactional video on demand (TVOD) models have been at the top of the online viewership game, the subscription video on demand (SVOD) model has slowly begun to challenge their collective authority. To remain competitive, broadcasters and communications service providers (CSPs) need to look for addressable (targeted or programmatic), personalized and relevant ads based on viewing history, location, device type, and more. However, delivering a custom ad to each viewer places a considerable demand on the ad ecosystem. This paper outlines how the industry can meet the addressable ad challenges in live and VOD experiences and how new technologies such as server-side ad insertion (SSAI) and 5G can help scale up the ad ecosystem.
Delivering seamless, addressable, targeted, and measurable ad experiences
The subscription video on demand (SVOD) has also been growing as it offers a massive variety of entertainment video content. CSPs and broadcasters, to remain competitive, look to reduce ad loads and boost ad values with targeted and relevant ads inserted dynamically into the video stream. Client-side ad insertion is one of the most accessible options available where it is possible to add ads to the player. However, this approach entails a few challenges. The video rendering experience is inconsistent as the actual video stream, and ad video come from different sources and formats and are stitched together in the player. The ads are vulnerable to malware as the client configures them, and external plugins can easily block them. In addition, targeted and programmatic ad decisioning is challenging, given the dependency on the client app.
Server-side dynamic ad insertion (SSDAI) is an alternative approach, wherein ads are inserted into the online video by the streaming server without depending on the client or player. SSDAI offers the capability to address these challenges, with benefits such as smoother video streaming coupled with improved video and audio quality. Adblocking is more complex, and it helps keep malware infection at bay. It also provides greater visibility for B2B players on the type of ads, identifying the slots, monitoring, and analyzing the insights.
A programmatic ad insertion ecosystem holds the answers
They are server-side ad insertion (SSAI), supply-side ad platform (SSP), and demand-side ad platform (DSP). Figure 1 outlines the high-level integration points of the platform, where the broadcaster ad decision server integrates the demand and supply-side platform.
Figure 1: SSDAI 5G-Powered Platform
The DSP enables media and audiences to buy in real-time on ad exchanges. The SSP allows publishers to manage ad inventory yield and enables routing of ad exchanges. CSPs and broadcasters will be able to switch ads in real-time with personalized ads. The 5G edge computing services (vCDN-virtual) enable seamless, rich, and real-time experiences.
From ad-break detection to ad insertion, the entire process takes less than a second and repeats for every viewer with every ad break. The final piece is content delivery with relevant ads to the right audiences on suitable devices by consistently maintaining the integrity of users’ viewing experience. A content delivery network (CDN) facilitates this.
The CDN makes manifest data available to the SSAI to provide a personalized experience to each user based on the instructions from the ad tech ecosystem. The SSAI delivers the personalized manifest to end-viewer devices, while CDN handles the last-mile video delivery.
The entire content delivery system needs to work with the SSAI workflow to ensure a seamless experience across various network conditions, devices, and geo-locations. Here, 5G with mobile edge computing (MEC) can harness the required ecosystem in delivering the quality of experience (QoE) in the end-to-end workflow.