In all the virus craziness of the past few days, I didn’t have an opportunity to share an update on WURL, which last week announced key growth metrics for its first full year of operations. WURL is benefiting from all of the key trends around connected TVs (CTVs), CTV advertising, programmatic, direct-to-consumer and cord-cutting.
WURL offers a solution to ad-supported video providers and producers to efficiently deliver their live, linear and VOD content onto all of the most popular CTV devices. This is critical because, as has been said a million times in recent years, content providers are not technology companies. With the rare exception of behemoths like Netflix, Disney and Amazon, the vast majority of content providers don’t have the specific technology expertise in-house to navigate each CTV device’s detailed specs for stream formats, close captions, metadata and other things.
Late last week, video ad management platform Beachfront and XITE announced a collaboration in which Beachfront is powering XITE’s VOD ad inventory on IP-enabled set-top boxes. XITE is a Netherlands-founded music video service that reaches 100 million households in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Ben Abbatiello, Beachfront’s VP of Advanced TV explained in an interview that a critical role that the company is playing is empowering XITE with more granular, IPv6-based audience targeting on set-top boxes, an improvement vs. the single home IP address format of IPv4. Beachfront has been investing in cross-screen addressability that bridges STB and connected TV inventory. IPv6 will become more essential for enhanced targeting as consumers add multiple viewing devices in their homes.
With all the billions of dollars that are being invested in high-quality original TV shows, piracy prevention is becoming more important than ever. Content security is an imperative for video providers to keep valuable assets from being consumed illicitly online. Last Friday, Akamai introduced support for watermarking content to help prevent piracy and to help trace leaks to their source.
I’m pleased to present the 483rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin was attending IBC show in Amsterdam and on this week’s podcast, he shares his key takeaways from the show related to multiple CDN management, data, artificial intelligence and machine learning for business optimization. Colin also touches on a few emerging technology solutions he saw that could have a big impact on the industry’s future.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 8 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 454th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin’s site published a provocative piece this week focused on whether YouTube is doing as much as it should for its vast network of content creators. In our first segment this week we debate this question. Colin asserts YouTube isn’t, while I counter it’s likely doing as much as it feels it needs to, and especially focuses on its biggest creators. We do agree that with YouTube’s audience still growing and advertisers returning, the question may be moot anyway.
We then dig into this week’s deal by Brightcove to acquire Ooyala’s OVP business, joining two traditional competitors. For me the deal illustrates the rising bar video platforms must meet for both publishers and users, driven by in-house technology found in Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube and others and the need for greater scale. From a strictly financial standpoint, Brightcove’s move seems savvy and opportunistic.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 3 seconds)
Brightcove has inked a deal to acquire Ooyala’s online video platform (OVP) business for $15 million, with $6.25 million paid in cash and the remainder in Brightcove stock. The deal joins two companies that were among the earliest entrants in the video platform industry in the mid-2000s and competitors ever since.
Ooyala had been previously bought by Australian telco Telstra in a couple of moves in 2012 and 2014 for over $300 million. Then it and other Telstra video investments were written down completely in 2016 and 2018, resulting in over $500 million in charges. Last fall Ooyala was spun off to management.
Cadent has unveiled its Cadent Advanced TV Platform, enabling national ad buyers and TV networks to achieve a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness in addressable TV advertising. In a briefing, Cadent’s Chief Product Officer Eoin Townsend and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Alfieri emphasized that today’s national TV ad buyers are looking to shift to data-centric approaches that enable customized, targeted audience segments at scale. This is what Cadent Advanced TV Platform is built to deliver.
Cadent Advanced TV Platform can access 70 million addressable homes (i.e. those with set-top boxes that are individually identifiable and enabled) with ads across cable, broadcast and OTT content. The new platform has integrated all the elements required to make a scaled, targeted buy - choosing specific pay-TV/OTT providers, number of homes, relevant data sources, KPIs, budgets and more and melded them into a cohesive workflow that will feel familiar to most people who have bought digital advertising. Once the parameters are set the platform presents different campaign options to the buyer.
I’m pleased to present the 440th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week Bhavesh Vaghela, CEO of Paywizard, joins us for a fascinating discussion about how video service providers can use technology to become more customer-centric and competitive. Paywizard specializes in subscription, billing and CRM software solutions for the video industry which enable actionable customer insights.
Bhavesh shares highlights of the company’s recent survey that focuses on the role positive customer experiences play. He also gives multiple examples of how different operators are learning to use data to improve retention and drive new revenues. Bhavesh explains how there’s still a real learning curve among both pay-TV operators and OTT providers. Using data to deliver a positive user experience requires real organization change and focus.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 23 seconds)
In my ten years of experience in major event streaming, including Super Bowls and Olympics, I’ve found that every big event is unique – and every event has something unexpected happen. But successful streaming always has three essential ingredients – clear objectives, comprehensive testing, and operational playbooks.
Know Your KPIs
The ultimate objective may be to make the live-stream experience flawless. Realistically, that can’t happen for all viewers all the time in all places. Audience expectations, while rising steadily overall, vary locally. And there are cost-performance tradeoffs to navigate.
Amid all that variability, you need to establish specific KPIs to benchmark performance measurement, comprehensive testing, and continuous improvement. Start with the basics – viewers’ time-to-access the stream and rebuffering percentage. Include audience satisfaction and feedback if measured. And be precise about time-to-recovery objectives. For example, when servers go down, software components fail, or unexpected things happen on the Internet, does the workflow have the resiliency to recover quickly, even imperceptibly to the viewer?
I’m pleased to present the 437th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Yesterday’s Q2 Video Monetization Report from FreeWheel put an exclamation mark on just how significantly connected TVs are changing the TV and online video landscape. In Q2 ’18 CTVs accounted for 41% of premium video views, up from just 1.2% in Q2 ’13. In that time, desktop views have dropped from over 81% share, to just 17%.
In today’s podcast we discuss the rise of CTVs and in particular their impact on advertising. We also touch on other interesting data points from FreeWheel’s Q2 VMR.
We then switch gears as Colin reports on highlights of his time at the IBC show in Amsterdam. Tops on his list was the outsized presence of Google and Android TV at the show and its potential impact.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 28 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 433rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week we discuss new research showing that 50% of Facebook users haven’t heard of Facebook Watch and another 24% have heard of it, but never used it. The anemic interest demonstrates to us how difficult it is to shift how people customarily use a product (Newsfeed in Facebook’s case) to something totally different (Watch).
We then switch gears to explore how AI is being innovatively used in video. Colin shares several examples, the most interesting of which is the BBC’s upcoming BBC 4.1 on the evenings of Sept. 4th and 5th. On these nights BBC is using AI to mine its archives in order to find “hidden gems” from past years.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 3 seconds)
Video ad tech provider Cedato has introduced its Contextual Lookalike Targeting technology, which uses machine learning to analyze performance data from billions of videos ads in order to decide when and where to serve a new ad to suit an advertiser’s KPIs. The new technology leverages Cedato’s Predictive Knowledge Graph, which is based on data from 400 billion plus video ads.
Marketing technology provider 4C has launched Scope, a platform for unifying cross-channel advertising across digital and TV. Scope allows marketers to gain audience insights, execute campaigns across screens and gauge performance, all via a self-service workflow. Scope spans premium content in Apple News, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, NBCUniversal, Mediaocean, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter.
Scope is aimed at helping marketers succeed with audience-based campaigns managed through 4 modules. First is 4C’s “Brand Compass,” a new tool which lets marketers access persona-based insights which are based on 4C’s Affinity Graph that combines TV, social and digital data on how people are connected to media, technology and each other.
In the hubbub of NABShow last week, Comcast Technology Solutions made several announcements, including one for a new product called AdStor, which caught my attention. AdStor is a cloud-based platform that hosts ads in a centralized library. Josh Arensberg, VP/GM at CTS told me in a briefing that the main goal of AdStor is to streamline how ad buyers and sellers interact, to accelerate ad delivery across multiple platforms. The result is reduced operating expenses and new revenue opportunities.
Topics: Comcast Technology Solutions
The rapid rise in video consumption – good news?
Video consumption is going through the roof. According to a forecast published in the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), total Internet video traffic will be 79% of all global Internet traffic in 2020, up from 63% in 2015. This sounds like great news for the video industry, and it should be. But for thousands of video service providers and OTT platforms worldwide, this exciting statistic is a cause for a lot of stress, because it brings with it a set of growing challenges and an uncertain future.
Israel-based AnyClip has launched its Content Platform, enabling its library of brand safe premium video to be contextually targeted across publishers’ web sites. As Ari Applbaum, AnyClip’s VP of Marketing explained to me in a briefing, this results in video embedded in a “walled garden of safe, secure web sites, which is compelling to advertisers.”
AnyClip has traditionally pursued a syndicated video business model, inserting video clips into publishers’ sites. What’s being launched today is a new underlying technology platform called Luminous, which uses AI to more deeply analyze video and create metadata. Luminous can filter out objectionable content such as nudity, violence, profanity, guns, etc. Luminous can also screen for celebrity, brand identification and sentiment as well as IAB categories (see below).
Pixability has launched a self-service platform for buying video ads across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. As Pixability’s CTO Andreas Goeldi and Chief Product Officer Alan Beiagi told me in a briefing, the move means that all of the company’s buying tools which have been available only as a managed service to date, will now be available for self-service.
Pixability believes this is the first time ad buyers have had self-service access to buying tools across these major social networks. The initiative comes in response to major agencies being under pressure to provide more value for clients and take more control over the video ad buying process. Pixability unifies buying and reporting across social networks that have their own disparate ways of targeting users.
JW Player and SpotX recently announced a new header bidding solution to drive improved video ad monetization across JW’s huge base of content publishers. Dubbed “Video Player Bidding,” the solution is meant to radically simplify and accelerate JW publishers’ implementation of header bidding, while exposing their inventory to SpotX’s deep pool of demand sources. I caught up with JW’s co-founder and SVP, Strategic Partnerships Brian Rifkin and SpotX’s CRO Sean Buckley, to learn more.
For those not familiar, header bidding is a way for publishers to increase yield on their ad inventory, by simultaneously accepting bids from various demand sources, with the highest bid winning. The approach contrasts with the traditional “waterfall” model, whereby bids are sequentially evaluated. As programmatic buying has gained in display ads, header bidding has become widely used.
Video ad tech provider Pixability has announced a new brand safety solution guaranteeing that 100% of an advertiser’s YouTube campaign will be in brand-safe placements. There are two options, DependAbility Premium and DependAbility At Scale, which are both available as part of Pixability’s overall video ad suite. Pixability is providing refunds on any views that happen in non-brand-safe context.
Brand safety has emerged as a huge industry issue over the past year, with YouTube in particular coming under scrutiny. Advertisers are justifiably focused on making sure their ads don’t show up adjacent to controversial content. But managing this has turned into a major challenge.
To learn more about Pixability’s new solution, I interviewed Andreas Goeldi, the company’s chief technology officer. A transcript follows.
Last week, ad tech provider AppNexus shared several examples of customers which are having success with Prebid Video, the company’s video header bidding solution. I caught up with Eric Hoffert, AppNexus's SVP, Video Technology, to learn more about Prebid Video and also what’s ahead for the year in video advertising. (If you want a good primer on header bidding, a few months ago AppNexus released a helpful white paper.)
VideoNuze: AppNexus announced customer momentum with its Prebid Video solution for header bidding. What news did you share?
Eric Hoffert: AppNexus has shared metrics of client success with Prebid Video, built on Prebid.js, the industry’s most widely adopted open source header bidding technology. Premium publishers, including Ranker, FANDOM, and Diply reported increased share of revenue through video header bidding, including eCPMs up to 100% higher than tag-based integrations; ease of integration and extensibility with different video players; advantages of customization with different video ad servers; and optimized national and international video yield. These publishers are all Top 100 web sites in the US (based on Alexa and Quantcast data).