NAB 2019: MPEG-DASH and CMAF

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This year we’re using each day of the show to promote a different element of our platform.  We’ll be sharing content on Twitter and LinkedIn too, so make sure you follow us to get all the latest updates.

Two days down and my colleague tells me we’re now exactly 54.8% of the way through the show.  Being at an event full of engineers I shouldn’t be surprised that someone’s actually developed an app for that.  Despite tired legs and croaking voice, there’s a buzz about NAB that makes me look forward to day three.  The speed with which conversations on concepts turn into new technologies means a show like NAB is always interesting.

Our main theme for tomorrow is SSAI support for MPEG-DASH and CMAF – two areas that have developed significantly in the last twelve months.

SSAI for MPEG-DASH

There’s been a lot of talk in the industry about MPEG-DASH.  Yospace was the first vendor to announce server-side ad insertion (SSAI) support for MPEG-DASH and isone of the only vendors today that has live customer services using it, so we’re in a strong position to talk from a point of experience.

The ecosystem for supporting MPEG-DASH is still relatively immature in terms of players, encoders and packagers.  Behind this is the fact that the specification for MPEG-DASH doesn’t specify exactly how an MPD should be expressed to support SSAI.  Read the thoughts of our Founder & CTO in this blog post.

CMAF

At 3.30pm our Founder & CTO David Springall will be presenting on the Bitmovin booth.  He’ll be discussing our integration points as well as server-side ad insertion for CMAF.  There’ll be an accompanying blog post – so check our Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to access it.

Have a great day 3 of NAB.  Click here to book a meeting or pop by SU3414 – it will be good to see you.

NAB 2019: Server-Side Ad Insertion for VoD

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This year we’re using each day of the show to promote a different element of our platform.  We’ll be sharing content on Twitter and LinkedIn too, so make sure you follow us to get all the latest updates.

Day one, tick.  The show got off to a great start and we’ve had some really good discussions on scaling SSAI and maximising the potential of programmatic for live streams.  It’s a far cry from just a few years ago when most meetings would start with: “so what is server-side ad insertion??”

It’s pleasing now that most people we meet already know the answer to this question and are keen to get into the details of the technology.  We’re finding that discussions around consistency of viewer experience, measurement and data security are becoming more and more popular.

Harnessing the power of SSAI for VoD is our focus for day two at NAB.  Over the past year, we’ve seen a considerable increase in operators and MVPDs implementing SSAI for VoD to deliver viewing experience consistency throughout their device platforms.

Why is there a move towards Server-Side Ad Insertion for VoD?

In this article for TV Technology, Yospace’s Founder & CTO David Springall discusses why SSAI technology, which has been a staple of live monetisation for a number of years, is also proving to be a popular way of monetising VoD due to factors such as viewer experience, ease of maintenance and data security.

Data security is an especially important topic.  As operators and MVPDs increasingly rely on their first-party data to maximize ad revenues, having an effective middleware layer (SSAI) between the client and the ad server is crucial in protecting user data and preventing them from being re-targeted.

Total Video for TV4 pays dividends

Swedish innovator TV4 is an example of a broadcaster that’s making the most of a joined up live and VoD monetization strategy.  The broadcaster has recently agreed an extension with us to provide server-side ad insertion (SSAI) across its TV Everywhere service, TV4Play.

Mathias Berg, COO at TV4 Group said: “For the last couple of years TV4 has relentlessly been driving our business from a traditional linear ad model to a truly platform agnostic experience for both users and advertisers.  Part of this journey has been to enable us to capture and monetise on our digital inventory in all potential channels using all data available. As a result of a successful implementation of this strategy TV4 delivered its best financial result in terms of turnover and profitability in the history of the company in 2018.”

As a leader in the broadcast space that’s continued to reinvent itself, TV4 was one of the first broadcasters that recognised the value in using SSAI to monetize VoD.  Read this blog post to learn more about the company’s digital journey with SSAI.

Have a great day 2 of NAB.  Click here to book a meeting or pop by SU3414 – it will be good to see you.

NAB Day 1: Scaling programmatic for live events

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By Paul Davies, Marketing & Communications at Yospace

Welcome to Las Vegas.  Despite being home to a hundred resorts and 150,000 hotel rooms, it feels like I know everyone here during NAB week – whether it’s bumping into a customer in the cab queue or taking a table next to a tech partner – the broadcast engineering industry seems to take over the city during the event.

This year we’ll be using each day of the show to discuss a different element of server-side ad insertion (SSAI), so be sure to check here after each show day.  We’ll be sharing relevant content on Twitter and LinkedIn too, so keep an eye on our profiles.

Our focus for the first day of NAB is scaling programmatic for major live events.  In order to maximise ad revenues, programmatic systems need adequate time to respond in a major live event set up, and this need is especially apparent in a low latency environment.

Programmatic vs. Low Latency

The ability to scale live SSAI and to plan for future scale, in an environment where all viewers see an ad break at the same time, is really important but is made more complex as there are two opposing forces at play:

  1. The need to allow programmatic platforms the time they need to respond to fully realise the value of the ad inventory
  2. Low latency support, which shortens the time available to the programmatic ecosystem

To maximise the revenue opportunity, it’s necessary to make ad decisioning calls in an orderly fashion way ahead of the actual break taking place.  Our prefetch system allows ad calls to be made early, allowing the time needed to return a full pod of ads for each viewer, and this is a crucial element of our offering that we’ve been sharing with visitors to our booth at the show.

You can read more in this blog post.

For a more in-depth explanation read our white paper.

Prebidding

Once you have prefetch in place you can plan for advanced programmatic; the next opportunity to explore is prebidding.  Prebidding replicates the benefits of web header bidding for video.  By calling all supply-side platforms simultaneously, we can inform the ad server of the responses to help it make an informed decision on which ads to place and ensure the highest available CPM can be secured.

Read more in this blog post.

Have a great opening day of NAB.  Click here to book a meeting on our booth (SU3414).

TV4 extends its relationship with Yospace for server-side ad insertion into live and VoD

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Sweden’s largest commercial broadcaster continues to lead the way in OTT monetisation

Staines-upon-Thames, UK, February 27th 2019 – TV4 has agreed an extension with Yospace to provide server-side ad insertion (SSAI) across its TV Everywhere service, TV4Play.  TV4 was the first company to launch the technology in Sweden in 2014, initially using it to monetise VoD content before applying it to live channels, too.

The technology is a crucial cog in TV4’s forward-thinking data strategy as it allows advertising to be one-to-one addressable and opens the door to a mix of ad sales methods, including first and third-party sold and programmatic.  This is achieved while maintaining a true TV-quality viewing experience, which helps TV4 to achieve its goal of removing the distinction between traditional linear TV and digital and present itself as platform agnostic to advertisers.

Yospace’s SSAI solution (also referred to as dynamic ad insertion) allows advertising to be stitched into live and VoD content watched via OTT in a way that is completely seamless to the viewer.  Ads are prepared in advance to match the encoding profile of the source stream and are stitched before the video reaches the user’s device, thus removing the prospect of buffering and inconsistencies of older technologies as programming switches to and from an ad break.

Each viewer session is handled individually, meaning that an ad call is made on behalf of each viewer.  This helps TV4 future-proof its advertising: the broadcaster is free to continue developing its data strategy knowing it already has the necessary ad-tech in place.

Mathias Berg, COO at TV4 Group: “For the last couple of years TV4 has relentlessly been driving our business from a traditional linear ad model to a truly platform agnostic experience for both users and advertisers.  Part of this journey has been to enable us to capture and monetise on our digital inventory in all potential channels using all data available.  Having successfully launched both dynamic ad insertion with operators and log in on TV4Play, TV4 is now in a unique position to offer the combination of reach, inventory and data to Swedish advertisers. As a result of a successful implementation of this strategy TV4 delivered its best financial result in terms of turnover and profitability in the history of the company in 2018.”

Edward New, Commercial Director at Yospace: “TV4 was in the first wave of broadcasters to embrace server-side ad insertion and I’m delighted that our long-term relationship is continuing.  The broadcaster has used the technology to re-define television and data-driven advertising for a modern audience.  TV4 was also among the first to recognise the advantages of a joined up live and VoD SSAI strategy.”

TV4Play for web can be accessed at https://www.tv4play.seand the app is available on all the major connected devices.

– ENDS –

 

 About Yospace

Yospace is the foremost provider of server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technology in the world today.  Its solution allows live streams and on demand (VoD) content to be monetised for OTT in a way that is true to the seamless viewer experience of linear television, while opening up benefits of digital advertising such as one-to-one addressability and real-time measurement.

Yospace was the first to publicly demonstrate SSAI in a live stream, with ITV in 2012, and today services major broadcasters and network operators across the globe, including AT&T in the USA; Sky Media, ITV, BT Sport, Channel 4 and STV in the UK; Telia and TV4 in Sweden; SonyLIV in India (in partnership with Akamai Technologies); Seven West Media and Network Ten in Australia.

In early 2019 Yospace was 100% acquired by RTL Group.

Handling the opposing forces of programmatic and low latency

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By David Springall, Founder & CTO of Yospace.


In this post I’d like to talk about the challenges faced by broadcasters in efficiently monetising live sports at scale using server-side ad insertion.

We have broadcasters in five continents monetising live sports using our platform.  During the World Cup last year, we saw a peak audience of 1.6 million concurrent users and only a few weeks ago, in January this year, we saw that record double to 3.2 million – a significant jump in the space of just six months.

So the ability to scale SSAI, and to plan for future scale, is really important but this topic is made complex because there are two opposing forces at play.

On one hand you have the desire for the broadcaster to improve the viewer experience by reducing latency.   

On the other hand, the way in which online advertising is being bought and sold is trending towards automated, or ‘programmatic’, fulfilment.  This makes the user-level ad decisioning much more complex.

Underlying all of this is the fact that the industry as a whole is finding online audiences, especially where major sports events are concerned, are growing at an ever faster rate, and it’s important that solutions deployed can continue to keep ahead of this growth.  

So why is it that these forces are opposing?

The reason for this is that in live streaming everyone watches the ad break at more or less the same time.  In order for us to know which ads to stitch in to each individual stream, we need to make a call to the ad decisioning ecosystem on behalf of each individual streaming session.

Naturally, these calls all take place in a very short space of time.  The lower latency the stream, the shorter the time frame under which this bevy of calls will be made.  As this time window is made even smaller, you need each individual ad decision request to also take less time.  

Ok, so let’s hold that thought.

On the other hand, because the ad decisioning ecosystem is getting more complex, it actually needs more time to resolve ad decisions.  Real-time bidding is required in the process of getting decisions for ad placement, so you’re not making calls to a single ad server, you’re making calls to multiple partners in the ecosystem.  Furthermore, you’re depending on all of those partners to be able to scale to handle these bursts of requests.

Therefore, to deliver the low latency experience at scale for live sports, and to plan for future scale, with a complex ad decisioning ecosystem to maximise the revenue opportunity, it’s necessary to the make ad decisioning calls in an orderly fashion way ahead of the actual break taking place.  By doing this you are no longer hostage to stream latency and how long you can spend, or how many calls you can make to get a decision for each user.

So this is what we do with the Yospace SSAI platform.  We call it prefetch and it allows us to scale to support the world’s biggest live events.  We co-authored a white paper on the topic with Akamai and SpotX.  It’s called “Go Live” and you can download it here.

Schedule a time to meet at NAB to find out more!

Why Yospace’s acquisition by RTL Group is a huge endorsement of its SSAI

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On 8th January RTL Group announced it was acquiring 100% of Yospace Technologies Ltd. The announcement represents a huge endorsement of Yospace, our people and the server-side ad insertion technology we have developed.

Having launched VoD server-side ad insertion in 2011, Yospace was first to market with server-side ad insertion (SSAI) for live streaming at the start of 2012, showcasing it in partnership with ITV at the 2012 IBC Innovation Awards.  Since that time the team has focused exclusively on development and innovation in the SSAI space. This has been with a focus on solving broadcaster challenges while maintaining a TV-like viewer experience. Today we are the world’s leading provider of one-to-one addressable SSAI and stream management.

This is an achievement we are hugely proud of.  We are also immensely proud of building a profitable market-leading business organically, while maintaining the independence required to have such a laser-sharp focus on the long-term development of our product.  As such we were fortunate to be in a position where we could carefully consider an acquisition that best suited the future ambitions of the team, primary of which is to continue to innovate with our loyal existing broadcast customer base while accelerating global adoption of our capabilities.

The key principles of our technology road map since 2011 have been based on understanding the close integrations with broadcast playout systems and the end-to-end streaming workflows needed to deliver a true broadcast experience, and a willingness to adapt to the evolving and often complex needs of broadcasters.  Challenges such as achieving one-to-one addressability at true broadcast scale, while delivering real-time metrics reliably and supporting enhanced viewer experiences have all been addressed.

As the market continues to mature and advertiser expectations increase, the ability to deliver a truly optimised standards-based programmatic SSAI solution will become increasingly critical.  To this end, the opportunity to work more closely with SpotX, who we’ve been a partner with for a number of years, will be of huge benefit to Yospace and to the wider industry, as the learnings we will gain will optimise integration with the entire programmatic and SSAI ecosystem.

As SpotX remains committed to all its existing SSAI partnerships, Yospace remains ad server and ad-tech agnostic.  Our independent stance and freedom to work with providers across the broadcast and advertising ecosystems are crucial, and this is recognised by SpotX and the RTL Group.

Our aim, as it has always been, is to provide the world’s leading server-side ad insertion platform and establish our technology as the de facto standard for the industry.  We will continue to serve all of our existing customers, without whom we would not have achieved the market position we are so proud of today, and to whom we remain fully committed.  This focus will in turn allow us to accelerate further the expansion of our global customer base.

Ultimately our decision to join RTL Group was an easy one.  The Group has bought into our strategy and is fully committed to supporting both our product roadmap and our expansion plans.  Whether you are an existing customer or a customer-to-be, we’re looking forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Tim Sewell
CEO, Yospace

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Yospace achieves breakthrough in reducing ad load for OTT

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Server-side ad insertion specialist reports improvement in viewer engagement while delivering ad revenues.

 

 

Staines-upon-Thames, UK, 28thNovember 2018– Yospace has successfully demonstrated how a reduction in ad load combined with addressable advertising offers a viable and future-proof model for broadcasters in the OTT space.

The server-side ad insertion (SSAI) specialist developed its Non-Linear Startover (NLSO) technology in anticipation of a growing need among broadcasters to consider reducing ad load to improve viewer engagement, particularly among those viewers of the “internet-first” millennial generation.

Yospace allows users of OTT streaming services to rewind live content mid-stream.  Ad breaks are then intelligently reduced in length, allowing them to catch up with the live action.

Although ad breaks are shorter, precise per-viewer decisioning means broadcasters are able to command a premium for advertising.  Individual viewers are served only relevant ad content, thus boosting their engagement with the advertising and driving up the CPM for the broadcaster.

The success of the system was confirmed in a recent, award-winning project with Belgian broadcaster Medialaan, which focussed its attention on engaging a new generation of viewers.

Launching with Yospace’s SSAI technology with NLSO for its Stievie TV Everywhere service in late 2017, Medialaan has reported an increase in capacity for long-form views over a 12-month period, with greater ad revenues enabled through addressability.  In recognition of the success, the project was awarded the highly coveted IBC2018 Innovation Awardfor Content Distribution.

Calogero Macaluso, Marketing Director Stievie, Medialaan, said: “Providing a seamless viewing experience was more important than creating as many ad positions as possible and Yospace understood that.  Ultimately, we want to encourage the transformation from linear to digital by delivering a better customer experience.”

Olivier van Zeebroeck, Head of Sales Digital, Medialaan, said: “We’ve unlocked hundreds of hours of advertising inventory since working with Yospace.  The introduction of server-side DAI resulted in a 10% capacity increase for long-form views.”

Tim Sewell, CEO, Yospace: “The next generation of viewers are online and have grown up used to video with lighter ad loads.  With the right ad-tech and data strategy in place, broadcasters can cater to that audience while increasing engagement with the advertising.  Yospace’s technology continues to successfully push the boundaries of what a 21stcentury TV experience looks like.”

Read more about the Medialaan project here:
http://www.yospace.com/home-page/case-studies/medialaan/

________________________________ 

About Yospace

Yospace is the foremost provider of server-side dynamic ad insertion (SSAI) technology in the world today.  Its solution allows live streams and on demand (VoD) content to be monetised for OTT in a way that is true to the seamless viewer experience of linear television, while opening up benefits of digital advertising such as one-to-one addressability and real-time measurement.

Yospace was the first to publicly demonstrate SSAI in a live stream, with ITV in 2012, and today services major broadcasters and network operators across the globe, including AT&T in the US; Sky Media, ITV, BT Sport, Channel 4 and STV in the UK; Telia and TV4 in Sweden; SonyLIV in India (in partnership with Akamai Technologies); Seven West Media and Network Ten in Australia.

www.yospace.com

 

Yospace Contact
Paul Davies
pauld@yospace.com
+44 1784 466 388

Yospace to demonstrate the world’s most scalable and trusted server-side ad insertion platform at IBC

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The global leader in SSAI achieved unprecedented scale for one-to-one addressable streams during the World Cup, recording a peak of over 1.5 million simultaneous viewers.

Staines-upon-Thames, UK – 30th August 2018
Yospace is to showcase its award-winning server-side ad insertion system at IBC (stand 14.G14).  The technology, also known as dynamic ad insertion or SSAI, has undergone a transformation in the last couple of years as audiences embracing OTT have been met by advertisers keen to exploit the opportunities of digital.

This summer’s World Cup tested the technology in the most demanding setting: major live event television.  Many streaming records were broken during the tournament, with the world’s largest CDN, Akamai, reporting that they delivered more video data in the 10 days of the group stage than during the entire 2014 tournament.  In keeping with overall trends, Yospace saw huge growth among SSAImonetised streams too.

Scottish broadcaster STV launched server-side ad insertion for the 2014 World Cup, the first in Europe to do so. They saw a five-fold increase in peak concurrent, or simultaneous, viewers watching personalised SSAI-enabled streams during the 2018 tournament, with viewers this year also able to enjoy all the action in HD.  Average viewing time increased, too, pointing to an audience that was more engaged with the content they were watching.  This resulted in two extra ad spots being opened up per viewer session.

Live events make the most engaging television because all viewers share the same experience. Dynamic ad placement opportunities are more valuable to the rights-holder as a result, but they are also more challenging to optimise in the programmatic ad marketplace because ad breaks occur for all viewers at the same time.

Peak concurrency during the tournament was recorded at over 1.5 million, which occurred during the dramatic penalty shoot-out between England and Colombia. Rather than delivering one ad for all, Yospace triggered many millions of ad requests for an ad break that was watched simultaneously by all viewers around the world.

Yospace is able to do this because it manages each viewer session.  When an ad break is detected a call is made out to an ad server on behalf of each user.  The ad server manages which ads are to be delivered to which viewer and will often make further calls out to the wider ad marketplace, where live auctions drive the highest possible CPM rate for the rights-holder.

All of the responses have to be managed within the strict timeframes of live broadcasting in order to maintain a TV-like viewer experience.  Yospace’s advanced technology succeeds where others don’t because it is able to make ad calls in advance of an ad break happening, allowing the ad server and wider programmatic marketplace the time they need to respond.  Given sufficient time, fill-rates are higher and the true value of each ad placement opportunity is realised.

The system also caters for the unexpected moments in major live events, which are often the most valuable but hardest to access.  The biggest surge in SSAI traffic for Yospace during the World Cup was in the knock-out game between Croatia and Denmark, when audiences across the globe doubled during the period from the end of extra-time to the start of a sudden-death penalty shoot-out – a window of just a few minutes.  The ad break just before penalties began suddenly became highly valuable and was successfully monetised by Yospace’s platform.

David Springall, CTO and Founder of Yospace: “Our technology has been, and continues to be, developed in tandem with the evolution of OTT streaming and advertising to the point that technical advancements from Yospace today are advancements for SSAI technology as a whole.”

Tim Sewell, CEO of Yospace: “Our SSAI platform was first to market in 2010 and today we stand as the only dedicated vendor with a proven track record for delivering at scale.  The system has been architected to address the unique challenges the programmatic marketplace introduces to live streaming, and our continued focus on SSAI means we remain out in front when it comes to the development of the technology, as demonstrated by our continued adoption and loyal global customer base. Our World Cup figures show that our global reach is second to none.”

More from Yospace at IBC:

IBC Innovation Awards with Medialaan:Yospace is a finalist at the highly-respected IBC Innovation Awards for its work on reducing ad loads in live OTT streams for the leading Belgian broadcaster.

Programmatic Demo:Working with SpotX, Yospace are demonstrating live SSAI with one-to-one addressability and programmatic trading.

Turnkey Scaling:Yospace is demonstrating its turnkey solution for scaling up channels to support major events.  Editors are able to track viewing figures across live streams in order to place advertising in the most valuable slots.

Visit Yospace at IBC: 14.G14
Schedule a demo: www.yospace.com/ibc18

The unique value of live streaming

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By Paul Davies, Marketing & Communications

Live event streaming offers tremendous value for viewers – thus, tremendous value for advertisers. Events like the World Cup present golden opportunities for broadcasters to supercharge ad breaks and golden moments for brands to be seen at scale.

Live simulcast gaining pace

The number of viewers who live stream content is growing; even in the early group stages of the World Cup, live streaming figures exceeded those of Super Bowl by 40%, with Conviva recording a peak 7.7 million concurrent viewers. In the UK alone, a record 3.3 million requests were made to stream England’s dramatic penalties win against Colombia via ITV Hub.

This trend isn’t confined to live sports. Events like the Royal Wedding and Trump’s presidential inauguration all drew significant online audiences, illustrating a diversity in event-based live viewing.

And why not? Live simulcast is now a valued part of the fan experience, and one which can be enhanced with added extras, like watching and syncing content on multiple devices, scrub control and interactive features.

Commanding hearts, minds, and eyeballs

Live events and, in particular, sports, command the hearts and minds (and eyeballs) of viewers, and huge rights sums from major broadcasters. Viewers expect to see premium quality content with advertising that is delivered seamlessly, frame-accurately and without interrupting or disrupting the live stream, regardless of the type of device they are watching on.

And when broadcasters deliver on expectations? You get vast audience numbers who are engaged for a specific reason, at a specific time, creating a hugely valuable opportunity for advertisers to achieve mass reach at a single point in time, with the accuracy that digital measurement can bring.  This is something that brands simply can’t achieve anywhere else, whether it’s a leading social media service or AVOD platform.

BT Sport recognised this opportunity and has been using Yospace’s DAI technology since 2016 to monetise live sports. Jeremy Rosenberg, Head Of Advertising Partnerships TV at BT perfectly sums this up: “Audience and reach is paramount to any advertiser.  It is about appointment to view and I would say that reaching that at such a high level where people are engaged is paramount compared to other platforms out there that give you a very short attention span from a content perspective.”

A golden opportunity

Audience reach is great for advertisers, but how can broadcasters manage this scale? In live OTT all viewers go to an ad break at the same time, putting huge strain on an ad server which will have to manage a bombardment of ad requests: during a football match an ad server could be stone-cold for 45 minutes, until a half-time break unleashes millions of simultaneous ad requests.

BT Sport is just one name to have scored with scale-management: the broadcaster recently completed its second full season of Premier League and Champions League football with addressable DAI. Yospace’s pre-fetch system – a core component of scaling addressable DAI – ensures calls to the ad server are paced over a longer period so the ad server isn’t overloaded and the broadcaster can ensure maximum fill-rates. All of this must be achieved without affecting the viewer experience, of course.

Read more about the BT Sport project in our case study.

Other broadcasters are in a strong position to do the same. Live events continue to command huge numbers of engaged viewers who expect a high quality viewer experience. Investing in advanced ad tech translates this engagement into valuable opportunities for broadcasters, who’ll be able to open up new ad inventory, and to advertisers who are keen to capitalise on the unique appointment-to-view experience: “You can’t get that anywhere else,” concludes Rosenberg.

Jeremy Rosenberg was speaking at the Future TV Advertising event in London in December 2017.

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