Introduction to Prebidding for live streams

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By David Springall, Founder & CTO of Yospace.

In a previous post I discussed the concept of “prefetch” for live streams.  In this post I’m discussing “prebidding” which is an add-on to prefetch, so if you haven’t read the prefetch post yet I suggest you go through that first – you can find it here.

“Prebidding” is analogous to the concept of “h​eader bidding”, an approach to selecting advertising demand that has become very popular because of its ability to optimise advertising revenues on websites.  Header bidding allows advertisers to participate in an online auction for placement on the page while the page is being loaded.

In practical terms, individual advertisers do not participate in the auction, but instead bids are aggregated by systems called Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) which in turn solicit bids from Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs).  It is with the DSP, that the advertiser (or their buying agent) establishes the commercial contract for payment on placement.

Until the concept of header bidding came along, a webpage would get advertisements from a first-party ad server (for example, DoubleClick for Publishers) which would be set-up to define a ‘pecking order’ of SSPs or DSPs that would be given the opportunity to place an ad.  If an SSP or DSP couldn’t place an ad, the next SSP/DSP in line would be given the opportunity.

There were a number of problems with this approach.  The first was that this cascade could simply take a long time to execute.  The second was that it didn’t reflect the fact that the best price could come back from any of the SSPs in the chain – only the first price above the publisher’s bid floor was used, not the best price.  And finally, the further down the pecking order an SSP/DSP would be the less insight into how many placement opportunities a given publisher was able to supply.

Having an accurate idea of how many placement opportunities a given publisher is making available is critical to optimising the bid responses.  Header bidding allows all SSPs or DSPs to be treated equally by calling to them simultaneously, rather than in a cascade, meaning the best price across all SSPs can be seen and everyone gets to see the placement opportunities and, importantly for the user experience, it’s faster.

Prebidding takes this concept of header bidding to video advertising inserted into a live broadcast stream.  In live streaming multiple ad breaks can be viewed by the same user during a single streaming session. This new logic exists inside the Yospace system that is responsible for delivering the stream to the user rather than the header of a web page, hence why the feature is named “prebidding” and not “header bidding”.

The system also solves another issue for the broadcaste, which is the separation of advertising by industry type.  If, for example, the first ad in an ad pod (ad break) is a first-party sold automotive ad, prebidding allows the ad server to ensure that no other automotive ad is included in that pod.  In addition, if an automotive ad comes back from the SSPs at a higher CPM than the first-party sold ad then the ad server could swap out the first-party sold ad, if the broadcaster configured it to do so.  Obviously, there are many nuances to where a broadcaster would want to prioritise higher-priced third party advertising over their own sold ads, but the technology would let them do this.

Until now a typical workflow for server-side ad insertion (SSAI) for live streams has looked like the first workflow here (1. Typical SSAI ad calls):

As you can see from the diagram, the ADS has not had visibility in advance of the SSP decisions.  It decides which ad in the pod are to be programmatic but without the foresight to know the CPM or content type of the programmatic ads that are to be stitched into the stream.

In the second diagram (2. Typical prebidding SSAI ad calls), prebidding allows the ADS to see the CPMs and ad types returned by SSPs in the ad call from the SSAI system (Yospace).  As a result the ADS is able to make a fully informed decision on which ads to place, resulting in realising the maximum value of the ad pod while ensuring an advertisers message is not diluted.

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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/

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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

Inside Secure and Yospace Develop Innovative Approach to Bypass Ad Blockers

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Tracking pixels on device with Inside Secure’s ad protection solution and Yospace’s platform help publishers maximize their revenues

Aix-en-Provence, France, and Surrey, United Kingdom, April 4, 2018 – Inside Secure(Euronext Paris: INSD), at the heart of security solutions for mobile and connected devices, today announces that it has joined with Yospace, a stream management innovator specializing in server-side dynamic ad insertion in live and on-demand streaming, to create a solution that can route tracking pixels on the device through Inside Secure’s ad protection technology, effectively bypassing disruptive ad blockers.

Without a solution to significantly thwart ad blocking, it is estimated that publishers alone will lose $75 billion by 2020, according to research published by Ovum. The innovative approach developed by Inside Secure and Yospace to safely feed back tracking pixels from the device will dramatically improve overall ad protection. Currently, server-side stitching can bypass ad blockers but is still exposed to threats when accompanying client-side ad tracking pixels must be reported back to ad servers. And with only server-side protection, ad inventories cannot be accurately assessed and measured.

Inside Secure’s leading Ad Protect solution provides: ad reporting integrity, preventing ad blockers from tampering with ad-display information reported back to operators; ad display enforcement both for server-side and client-side ad insertion, notifying users that ad-blocking apps must be removed before viewing content or simply by-passing ad blockers silently; and ad blocker AI, continuously updating ad-block detection, future-proofing operators from invading ad-blocker hacks.

These capabilities feed well into the significant advantages of Yospace’s Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) platform: a seamless user experience; one-to-one addressability with real-time measurement; reliability and scale where millions of ad calls are made per ad break; and the ability to plan for unexpected ad breaks that can happen at a critical time, such as a time-out in a sports match.

“There are numerous benefits to performing ad stitching on the server-side, not least the ability to bypass ad blockers, but if client-side tracking is detectable then it poses a risk to ad revenues,” said David Springall, chief technical officer and founder at Yospace.  “The innovative work we’re doing with Inside Secure, one of the leading names in content protection across the globe, will give broadcasters and publishers the peace of mind that ad views are being accurately measured.”

“Partnering with Yospace to help customers successfully monetize their precious assets is an important next step for us in protecting the digital ecosystem from ad blockers,” said Simon Blake-Wilson, chief operating officer of Inside Secure. “We are pleased to have worked with Yospace and their advanced ad insertion platform to provide a client-side solution that will be a game changer in ad protection.”


– Ends –

 

About Inside Secure

Inside Secure (Euronext Paris – INSD) is at the heart of security solutions for mobile and connected devices, providing software, silicon IP, tools, services, and know-how needed to protect customers’ transactions, ID, content, applications, and communications. With its deep security expertise and experience, the company delivers products having advanced and differentiated technical capabilities that span the entire range of security requirement levels to serve the demanding markets of network security, IoT and System-on-Chip security, video content and entertainment, mobile payment and banking, enterprise and telecom. Inside Secure’s technology protects solutions for a broad range of customers including service providers, operators, content distributors, security system integrators, device makers and semiconductor manufacturers. For more information, visit www.insidesecure.com

 

About Yospace

Yospace is the foremost provider of Dynamic Ad Insertion technology in the world today.  Its server-side solution allows live streams and on demand content to be monetised in a way that is true to the user experience of broadcast television, while allowing advertising to be curated to the interests of the individual viewer.

Yospace services major broadcasters and network operators across the globe, including DIRECTV in the US; Sky Media, ITV, BT Sport, Channel 4 and STV in the UK; Canal 13 in Chile; TV4 in Sweden; Seven West Media, The Nine Network and Network Ten in Australia.