Yospace, which is best known for its server-side dynamic advertising insertion (DAI) solution for streamed linear video including sports, has unveiled a broadcast-grade solution for DAI into content that is displayed via an HTML5 player. This should help broadcasters and other content owners overcome device fragmentation and so make it easier to monetize their live digital (online) content.
The DAI-for-HTML5 solution is the result of a partnership with THEOplayer, whose HTML5 video player makes it possible to distribute content to any device without plug-ins. The pre-integrated solution works in HLS and MPEG-DASH environments.
When Yospace launched server-side DAI for the web in 2011 it had to develop its own Flash-based HLS player to achieve the performance levels needed for the broadcast market. According to David Springall, CTO at Yospace, Flash remains the dominant technology for playing video on the web but it is dying fast. “HTML5 is the future of video playback online; in a few years there will be very few alternatives,” he predicts.
“With the advances in browsers that have taken place over the last few years, HTML5 now offers the power to develop advanced players that previously were only really possible in Flash. With the industry now moving away from Flash, the time is right for publishers and broadcasters to look for an HTML5 solution for video playback,” Springall continues.
The key requirement for the integration of dynamic advertising insertion with HTML5 playback was high performance in order to ensure a good UEX. “Our broadcaster customers take viewer experience very seriously,” Springall notes. “We needed to be sure that a server-side DAI solution for content that can be watched for hours at a time would not exhibit playback issues, such as buffering, lip sync or frame drop. We needed a solid player we could rely on and the THEOplayer stood out head-and-shoulders above the others in terms of enduring playback quality.”
He adds: “DAI with HTML5 was technically possible as a proof-of-concept or for short engagement periods, but this partnership represents the first broadcaster-grade solution that we can put our name to.”
THEOplayer integrates seamlessly with streams secured by Widevine, PlayReady or FairPlay DRM systems, ensuring the integrity of the content is maintained across all key platforms. “The real benefit of HTML5 is that it offers a modular approach to content protection; no other technology has been able to offer that because everything that has come before is proprietary,” Springall continues. “This will eventually help to simplify the challenges faced by broadcasters that want to reach the broadest device spectrum possible but offer strong content protection.”
Server-side ad replacement is now viewed as a crucial tool for broadcasters who want to monetize their online channels. Without it, as in the case of live sports, viewers can be watching for a number of hours without seeing any ads that are sold specifically for online viewing (i.e. they see ads that were sold for traditional linear TV). This technology solution ensures ad breaks can be replaced with frame-accurate timing.
Maarten Tielemans, CPO of THEOplayer, says: “We believe that dynamic ad insertion is the future of online content monetization. Together with Yospace, we are now making it possible for content owners to optimally monetize their content across all platforms and devices in HTML5, while offering a world class viewer experience.”
Yospace stress: “Live streams are monetised in a way that is not disruptive to the experience of watching live television online.”
The availability of HMTL5 and also MPEG-DASH – which Yospace supports for DAI and which THEOplayer also supports – provides more choice for media companies when planning OTT workflows. Springall views the availability of DAI-for-HTML5 as an important development in multiscreen TV. “This finally gives you consistency across major platforms and devices. It means broadcasters can expand their audience across a wider choice of devices in a way that is future-proofed,” he concludes.