Video: Harness SSAI’s Superpowers

Server-side Ad Insertion (SSAI) is a great option for streaming services delivering video to a wide variety of devices and for those who need to avoid ad blockers. Whilst ad insertion can happen in the player, this mechanism can be interfered with allowing users to avoid ads. Whilst client-side ad insertion can much more easily create a unique stream for each client, dynamic SSAI can now do the same with a better user experience.

This panel from the OTT Leadership Summit at Streaming Media West 2019 brings together Disney, WarnerMerdia and Crunchyroll to share their experiences with SSAI. They discuss beaconing, ad standards, scaling, SCTE and more.

Beaconing goes hand in hand with ad playback providing metrics on what happened. When you perform certain actions, the player will reach out to a URL. This can be used to indicate such things as users skipping or pausing a video. The beacon information can then be used to verify how much of which ads were seen by whom and charge advertisers accordingly.

The panel moves on to discussing scaling using live sports as an example and cover questions to ask vendors to ensure you and they are ready for maximum scale. Bandwidth, is declared the biggest challenge, but a less obvious problem is that your upstream ad providers can’t always scale well. If you rely on calls from your server to others, then it’s vital to understand their scaling capacity and strategy. They discuss issues with losing beacons when operating at scale and the need for detailed logging and debugging in order to spot errors and reconcile the results.

Some time is next spent on VPAID and VAST 4 which are both messaging specifications to allow ad servers to tell applications which ads to play. The panel discusses the pros and cons in their use for SSAI where the stitcher needs to reach out to and ad server in real time to find out which ads to play.

At the end of the discussion, the panel takes questions from the floor but not before discussing SCTE Markers and ‘content conditioning’ which surrounds taking care of your source videos and encoder such that the two assets fit together properly at I-frame boundaries.

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Speakers

Robert Jameson Robert Jameson
Technical Director, Media Enablement
Turner | WarnerMedia
Stephen Gray Stephen Gray
Director, Ad Tech Systems
Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Michael Dale Michael Dale
VP Engineering,
Crunchyroll
Nadine Krefetz Nadine Krefetz
Consultant, Reality Software
Contributing Editor, Streaming Media

Video: The State of Server-Side Ad Insertion


Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) it’s the best defence against ad-blockers, but switching in an ad at source can be tricky particularly in low latency streams. This talk at the OTT Leadership Summit at Streaming Media East brings together leaders in the field to explain where they’re up to in delivering this technology and the benefits they see.

Magnus Svensson tells us about the instrumental role Eyevinn Technology, the consultancy who run the technical conference Streaming Tech Sweden , is played in Sweden creating an open standard for all the broadcasters to work to in order to agree how to track SSAI allowing the correct payments to be made. Magnus also talks about aligning SCTE insertion with MPEG structure and the importance of correct preparation of the source video.

Tony Brown from Newsy talks about the centralised nature of SSAI making management easier and gives ana overview of decisioning bringing together buys and sellers of ads. Tony also discusses other analytics such as adjacency and targeting.

Jason Justman of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, explains SCTE insertion and talks about the technical difficulties in reacting to live changes in programming.

Geir Magnusson, Jr. from fuboTV covers the difficulties of preparing the ads quickly enough for thousands or millions of streams to get customised, SSAI ads at the same time and discusses his strategy to start pre-fetching ads from the ad server to prepare them ahead of time. Geir also highlights the misunderstanding that can exist where streaming provides the same video and programme experience as traditional broadcast but ad buyers don’t all understand how much more targeting is possible – even with SSAI.

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Speakers

Nadine Krefetz Nadine Krefetz
Consultant & Founder,
Reality Software
Tony Brown Tony Brown
Chief of Staff,
Newsy
Jason Justman Jason Justman
Senior Principal Architect,
Sinclair
Geir Magnusson Geir Magnusson, Jr.
CTO,
fuboTV
Magnus Svensson Magnus Svensson
Media Solutions Consultant,
Eyevinn Technology