On-demand delivery: advertising technologies evolve with content services | Industry trends

While the growth in on-demand revenue over the past five years has often seemed remarkable, recent data released by Digital TV Research suggests that the best is yet to come. Among its headline numbers was the forecast that global video-on-demand advertising revenue would grow by $39 billion to $66 billion between 2020 and 2026, or 32% of total OTT revenue, up from 26% in 2020.

It therefore follows that, technologically speaking, the stakes are high. Timeliness and relevance are paramount, and content departments are continually looking for technologies that can improve – and streamline – their workflows in these areas. When it comes to vendors, advertising demands continue to inspire an impressive level of innovation involving both new and existing platforms.

Meanwhile, new buzzwords and concepts – such as “contextual advertising” – continue to enter the lexicon. Namita Dhallan, Chief Product Officer at Brightcove, comments: “Contextual advertising is a trend that has become increasingly important as it helps protect consumer privacy and provides a way to target advertisements without using web cookies – which is already shaping content management and advertising operations. for publishers. The brands we work with across media industries are determining how to operationalize automated video intelligence in their content supply chain to better support their advertising workflows.

“Contextual advertising is a trend that has become increasingly important because it helps protect consumer privacy and provides a way to target ads without using web cookies,” Namita Dhallan, Brightcove

Therefore, the following conversations with technology vendors point to an industry that is firmly focused on helping services optimize their revenue opportunities as viewing habits mature.

Automation and audience targeting

Pieter Liefooghe, director of business development at Broadpeak, puts the development of on-demand advertising in a broader context of “tremendous growth in advertising across the web and on mobile devices” – driven in large part by ads reaching more than viewers at “very affordable” prices. pricing,” automating transactions between sellers and buyers of ad inventory, and the ability to target certain audiences with ad campaigns.

Broadpeak_Pieter Liefooghe

“With the advent of OTT-based video delivery, which essentially leverages web technology, it has become possible to use the digital advertising stack for targeted TV advertising on the main screen as well. The Connected TV Advertising (CTV) advertising medium was born,” says Liefooghe.

Broadpeak itself offers an end-to-end solution for server-side ad insertion (SSAI) that not only supports ad insertion for VOD content, but also facilitates the replacement of ads for TV channels. linear. The company’s BKYou manifest manipulator, which is pre-integrated with a wide range of advertising decision platforms, is the “elementary building block” of the solution and enables the insertion and replacement of advertisements in feeds. HLS and DASH.

In the near future, this targeted advertising solution will also be available on the recently introduced Broadpeak.io SaaS video API platform, “because we know it is important for pay-TV operators, content providers and OTT players quickly start monetizing their video services by offering contextualized ad delivery.”

“Everybody in the ecosystem is actually pretty open to all the different delivery models right now,” Steve Russell, Red Bee Media

As for AI, Liefooghe identifies a new role in the emerging privacy climate where “it is becoming increasingly illegal to use personally identifiable data. This makes mapping more difficult, and this is where ML can help isolate relevant features from any data points that can still be used to create relevant targetable cohorts for advertisers. »

Simplified integration

Alain Pellen, Senior Market Manager OTT & IPTV at Harmonic, observes that more and more VOD operators are “considering migrating from their existing CSAI [client-side ad insertion] at SSAI, with the drivers often being the same – to provide consistent video quality to the viewer for content and advertisements.

211001 - Harmonic - Alain Pellen

“The need to simplify integration and reduce testing workloads for all end-user platforms is also helping to fuel demand for SSAI. With SSAI, much of the integration is done on the server side, so only once, instead of repeating the integration for each end-user platform.

From a vendor perspective, Pellen adds, there are still “major differences in approach… The fact is that SSAI is at the crossroads of the video industry and the ad serving industry. , so it’s probably natural to see some ad serving companies come up with overt manipulation-based ad assembly solutions, as they believe they can bring innovation through proprietary integration. , you can see original vendors providing SSAI ads on solutions to be developed in the ad workflow, in both cases the solutions are heavily focused on the ad workflow, and then you have the Harmonic category providing a stream end-to-end video work, including playback.

RED BEE FASTExplainDiagramV2.5[1]

Harmonic’s offering here is built around the VOS360 SaaS platform, which can run on any cloud and supports streaming, transcoding, origin, and SSAI capabilities for live streaming or VOD. Pellen cites a recent project with a “large US sports content provider” that illustrates the overt manipulation capability of VOS360, which is used “to switch between live content sources based on each sub-region and distribution rights. In total, there are up to 250 variations of the channel automatically generated based on the content provider’s programming information. In addition to this, VOS360 is also used to insert targeted advertisements for the over one million users of the service.

Without anticipating “many short-term changes” regarding the delivery of advertisements to terminals, Pellen identifies a potential role for AI in the analysis of VOD scenes and the placement of advertisements: “With AI-based algorithms , it becomes possible to automatically select the best position to insert a mid-roll into a VOD asset without disturbing the user experience too much.

Open to different approaches

Given the increasingly demanding requirements of ad insertion technologies, it makes sense that some service providers have established ongoing collaborations with solution providers. Take, for example, broadcast and media services company Red Bee Media, which works closely with digital video personalization company Nowtilus, whose open platform Serverside.ai enables seamless advertising experiences using of SSAI. Designed to help broadcasters and operators drive viewer engagement and content monetization, Serverside.ai can integrate with streaming ecosystems, ad servers, and supply-side platforms to scale content businesses .

Steve Russell, chief product officer at Red Bee Media, agrees with the suggestion that the industry as a whole is in the midst of a period of sustained experimentation. “Everybody in the ecosystem is actually pretty open to all the different delivery models right now,” he says. “Five years ago, you were attending events and [it would have been possible to conclude] that the traditional linear and rights TV models would move away, and there would be a massive trend towards direct-to-consumer, subscription-driven models. And, while there have been some notable D2C successes, there are brands that have re-embraced rights deals, while the fluctuating fortunes of some streamers indicate there may now be an element of “fatigue subscription”.

High resolution 3x2 photo of Steve Russell

In short, this is a very fluid market and one that, if past industry changes are any indication, will eventually see some good consolidation after so much expansion. Therefore, “understanding the changing needs [of services] and evolve with them”, to quote Russell again, will remain fundamental to effective advertising insertion. In this regard, the flexibility of the latest generation of ad serving platforms should give everyone great confidence in the future.

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Jenny T. Curlee