In a bid to re-architect and improve upon how online video ads are inserted, this morning Akamai is announcing Ad Integration Services. With Ad Integration Services, online video ads are dynamically inserted in the cloud and delivered using Akamai's Sola Sphere delivery network, eliminating the typical client-side process of the video player calling for the ads.
As Kurt Michel, director of product marketing for media solutions, explained to me last week, the traditional process often diminishes the user experience. That's because the content itself and the ad are competing for last-mile bandwidth as the video player transitions from the former to the latter. This contention can lead to delays, which in turn leads to viewer abandonment (if you've ever waited for an ad to play you know about this).
With Ad Integration Services, the player sees just one video stream, as video ads are dynamically inserted from ad decisioning platforms and ad networks in both linear and on-demand programming, across connected devices. Another benefit of Ad Integration Services is that it relieves online video platforms and other video players of the need to constantly be updated to handle changes in ad delivery. With Ad Integration Services, player providers simply integrate a lightweight, IAB-compliant SDK which supports measurement beaconing for the ads.
Ad Integration Services uses mDialog's Smart Stream Platform, which, combined with Akamai's Sola Sphere delivery network, essentially handles ads like content. This enables high scalability via Akamai's network of 100K distributed servers. Ad Integration Services is initially being rolled out for its customers' own video players as well as those powered by Akamai; later this year it will become available for third-party video players as well. Ad Integration Services work with encoders including Cisco Media Processor, Elemental Live and Envivio C4.
Ad Integration Services is another example of how the underlying infrastructure for delivering video ads is continuing to improve. As these improvements translate to the user experience, monetization will be enhanced, which is good for everyone in the ecosystem.
(Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)