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.