• David Springall

Why is there a move towards server-side ad insertion to monetise VOD?

Until recently server-side dynamic ad insertion was only considered for live monetisation, but now it’s crossing over to VOD as well. David Springall, founder and CTO, Yospace, explains why this is happening.

Recently, Swedish broadcaster TV4 announced that in 2018 it had delivered the best financial results in terms of turnover and profitability in the history of the company. COO Mathias Berg credited it to a platform-agnostic approach to advertising.

TV4 is not the first to treat OTT and traditional viewing as one and the same but it has taken the principle a little further than most through widespread adoption of server-side ad insertion (SSAI) across all its online content. This burgeoning medium is delivered to the same high user experience standard as broadcast, ensuring it is regarded as the same premium product.

SSAI provides frame accuracy, which is fundamentally important to providing a true television experience. The technology has been a staple of live monetisation for a number of years and now we’re seeing more and more broadcasters, like TV4, implement SSAI for VOD as they seek to deliver a consistent, premium level of service across all their video.

Why does SSAI provide a better experience? Because intrinsic to SSAI is ad copy normalisation, which means that ad content is transcoded with the same bitrates, frame rates and audio levels as the original content. This provides a seamless TV-like experience for the viewer, without the buffering that can often be generated by client side ad insertion (CSAI), which many broadcasters have used for monetising VOD up to now. Another weakness of CSAI is that substantial effort is required to implement it because code has to be continuously duplicated from one device type to another. In an environment where developer resource is often limited, many broadcasters using CSAI are finding it increasingly hard to maintain.

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