IBC2019: Viewer Experience

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By Paul Davies, Communications & Marketing, Yospace

In preparing for IBC next week, we’re exploring key issues that we anticipate will be popular topics related to server-side ad insertion (SSAI).

Viewer experience is always paramount for broadcasters.  The success of any ad tech approach that a broadcaster implements lives and dies by its capability, the viewer’s enjoyment and the audience’s overall impression of the broadcaster. 

The rise of OTT streaming has opened up both opportunities and challenges for broadcasters. 

Reducing ad load 

The growing popularity of OTT streaming has seen many broadcasters need to monetise their TV Everywhere services.  SSAI is still a relatively new tech and many broadcasters have seized the opportunity to innovate and look at improving the viewer experience.

This is exactly the approach our customer Medialaan did when it sought to reduce ad load in live streams. The leading Belgian broadcaster enabled viewers on its Stievie service to rewind a live stream, then receive shorter ad breaks to allow them to catch up with the live programming sooner.

The result was more engaged viewers, longer viewing sessions, and ultimately more ad breaks viewed.  Read about this more in our Medialaan case study.

Delivering a TV experience – at scale

The challenge of scaling live sports and their unpredictable nature demands any advertising system employed by a broadcaster to be both robust and versatile.  You could have millions of viewers reaching the half-time ad break of the Champions League Final at exactly the same time.  

That’s not an issue in traditional TV where the same ad goes out to all, but in OTT, where addressability and per-viewer measurement is in play, a separate ad call is required for each streaming session and that’s a lot of work to cram into a very short space of time.  In situations like this our prefetch system is crucial.

Enhanced viewing

Another thing to consider, especially in sports, is the use of enhanced players.  BT Sport put the viewer front and centre of the action by allowing viewers to skip back from the live stream to whenever there had been a major event in the match.  It was crucial for the SSAI system to work within this environment and our system worked within the specific demands of this format so that BT Sport could provide its customers with a front row seat of Tier 1 sporting events. Read more about the project here.

If you’d like to learn more about improving viewer experience, please click here to book a meeting on our booth 14.G14 in the Content Everywhere Hall at IBC.