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).
In a first, IBM’s Watson Media will enhance the Grammy awards’ digital workflow and user experience with artificial intelligence. IBM Watson Media has partnered with The Recording Academy, which hosts the Grammys and produces the full digital experience. According to David Mowrey, Head of Product and Development at IBM Watson Media, AI will be used to augment the Academy’s teams in order make the digital user experience more immersive than ever. The 60th annual Grammy Awards are coming up on January 28th.
Specifically, Mowrey said that Watson Media will be used to index video from the red carpet pre-show, by tagging celebrities and topics in real-time. Watson will also enrich photos from the red carpet with metadata such as name, position and facial dominance. Watson Media is providing a web-based tool that Grammys editors can use to build galleries of videos and photos to present to users.
I recently caught up with Treepodia’s CEO Tal Rubenczyk to learn more about the company, which provides personalized video marketing solutions to brands of all sizes. Treepodia is based in Israel and has offices around the world. Following is an edited transcript of our interview.
VideoNuze: Explain what Treepodia does.
Tal Rubenczyk: We create personalized videos from data. Those videos are utilized by top worldwide companies (Kimberly Clark, Office Depot, Pokerstars, QVC and more) to significantly enhance the communication between the enterprise and its clients (as a major step in marketing automation), in advertising and in showcasing products and services.
A new survey from SintecMedia indicates that a majority of TV executives believe their organizations are either not well prepared to sell advanced TV and digital video ads in one streamlined process (35%), or aren’t sure about their ability to do so (29%). Conversely 41% felt that their organizations are very well prepared to do so.
The new data comes as viewers, especially younger ones, are shifting their consumption to online in record numbers. Consequently, the need to reach audiences across screens, however they may be watching, is critical. That a combined 64% of executives are either not sure or not confident in their ability to sell cross screen ads in a streamlined manner is a worrisome data point.
IBM Watson Media is being launched at the 2017 U.S. Open Tennis Championships, enabling the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) to quickly generate shareable highlights from matches occurring across 7 of the tournament’s courts.
IBM Watson Media is a suite of artificial intelligence powered solutions which use the IBM Cloud to analyze images, video, language, sentiment and tone. The USTA will use a module called Cognitive Insights which finds a match’s critical moments based on statistical tennis data, audience reactions and facial expression recognition. Cognitive Insights ranks these moments, enabling more rapid curation of highlight packages.
Niche programming provider ZoneTV has partnered with Microsoft and Ooyala to introduce a set of customizable AI-driven linear TV channels that will be made available in partnership with pay-TV operators using IP-enabled set-top boxes.
ZoneTV will leverage 6,000 hours of video that it has licensed across a number of different content categories to create specialized linear channels. Then, as the viewer consumes the content that has been characterized using Video Indexer algorithms from Microsoft Cognitive Services, a more and more personalized channel is presented for subsequent viewing.
Video ad tech provider Cadent announced this morning enhancements to its core addressable linear TV solution to enable ad delivery across OTT, network DVR and VOD as well. The entire system connects to multiple third-party ad servers through open standards so that pay-TV operators can fulfill on advertisers’ desires to plan, deliver and measure video campaigns holistically across screens.
In a briefing, Cadent’s CTO and COO, Stephanie Mitchko-Beale told me that a big differentiator for Cadent’s solution is that all ad decisioning is done in the cloud, which reduces the load that set-top boxes must carry and allows operators to dynamically insert ads in appropriate places. Operators can aggregate audiences across the different ways viewers consumer content, in turn giving advertisers a total view of usage.
Yesterday I posted the recent Video Ad Summit keynote interview with Brian Lesser, CEO of GroupM North America, in which he articulated some of the key challenges facing advertisers today: consumers are harder than ever to reach, data is becoming more valuable, workflows and media buying need to be simplified and agencies need to be more streamlined, among other things.
Video ad tech providers are well aware of these imperatives and this week, 2 new partnerships that were announced (one between YuMe and Mediaocean and the other between DataXu and Teads), along with a new strategic consulting initiative announced by SpotX, all pick up, in one way or another, on the points Brian made.
I’m pleased to present the 377th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we start by discussing NBC Sports’ new “Premier League Pass,” which I wrote about a couple days ago. Colin and I agree that Premier League Pass is a clever way for NBC Sports to provide access to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Going forward, we both like the idea of an “Olympics Pass” as well. Combined with AMC Premiere, which Comcast and AMC announced yesterday, it’s clear established media companies are innovating to offer more flexible access to viewers.
Colin then shares his reactions to an interesting presentation by Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, on the company’s ATSC 3.0 vision. I’ll admit this is not a topic I’ve followed too closely, but as Colin explains, Sinclair sees ATSC 3.0 as an entirely new delivery infrastructure it can use to deliver all kinds of services. Important to keep in mind, all of this is still very long-term.
(Note, the audio quality is a bit low this week with Colin being out of office when we recorded)
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 42 seconds)
Multi-screen video app platform provider You.i TV announced support for Roku’s SceneGraph 7.6 XML framework for building channels on its connected TV devices. FilmStruck, Turner Classic Movies’ SVOD service, which already used You.i TV, is the first content provider to take advantage of the new capability to power its Roku channel.
Last fall, You.i TV raised a $12 million Series B round led by Time Warner Investments, a sister entity to Turner.
There’s a lot happening in programmatic video advertising today – new ad formats, new measurement standards and new placements. For a major multinational brand that’s relatively new to the medium, there’s a lot to consider.
It’s even more perplexing in an industry that tends to promote "the next big thing" before it’s really ready for prime time. A classic example of this was when the industry was poised to abandon Flash and head full-tilt into HTML5, when most of the available inventory was still exclusively in Flash. Today, there’s so much talk about connected TV and native video, many brand advertisers may be adding budget lines for these shiny new objects.
Topics: GDM Group
Content discovery platform Taboola is taking a page from social networks, introducing a new format called “Taboola Feed,” which is a continuous scrolling feed of content that appears at the end of publisher’s article pages. Publishers can customize the feeds using “cards” that can contain either their own or third-party content (see video demo below).
Adam Singolda, CEO and founder of Taboola, told me that moving to the feed approach is an acknowledgement that social networks have optimized how the mobile user experience should work, and that the publishers’ current approach to loading their pages with multiple widgets is broken. With a feed that follows the end of an article, publisher create a familiar environment that in turn improves the likelihood that users will stay engaged.
Speed and growth. Two themes that publishers leveraging video really care about. In 2017, so far, publishers are using more sophisticated tools to measure, automate, and improve processes. In fact, using data and automation for video to drive larger, more engaged audiences and more effective monetization, is more important than ever.
However, buzzwords don’t push the needle. Driving video business in the real world comes with a host of challenges, and fragmented efforts often tamp down any real growth.
Topics: JW Player
In the blur of the recent NABShow, I missed that Comcast Technology Solutions introduced Linear Rights Metadata Management (“LRM”), which ensures that the appropriate linear video is distributed through both existing pay-TV operators and new OTT distributors.
Steve Lacoff, VP of Product Management at CTS, who oversaw the development of LRM, briefed me on why it’s important, particularly in the context of proliferating subscription options and mobile/connected TV consumption.
Topics: Comcast Technology Solutions
I’m pleased to present the 368th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Colin and I were both at the NABShow in Las Vegas earlier this week and on this week’s podcast we share some of our observations. Colin sees the industry moving from blocking and tackling to a focus on making digital business models work and he provides a number of examples.
I observed a similar theme, especially in recent research data that I highlight which shows the new normal of video consumption. I also share points from a keynote interview I did at NAB with Jim Lanzone, Chief Digital Officer of CBS, in which Jim explained how the company has transitioned from its broadcast roots to being a digital media powerhouse with its All Access and CBSN services leading the way.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 34 seconds)