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The newly improved ‘Stievie Premium’ online TV service from Belgium’s leading commercial broadcaster Medialaan features a notable advertising innovation that could be a first: viewers can rewind a live stream (including as a start-over function) and when they are watching in this time-shifted fashion the ad breaks are made shorter so they can catch up with the live programme. The new multiscreen service, which features 18 live TV channels plus six-day catch-up, will also use dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to replace ads and target viewers in the linear channels (whether you are watching in real-time or in ‘start-over’ mode) using a DAI system that is being provided by Yospace.

‘Stievie Premium’ is the paid version of the broadcaster’s multiscreen offer and was renewed last week. It is available on iOS, Android and web platforms. Pieter Coucke, Solution Architect at Medialaan, says: “In essence we wanted to improve the user experience. By replacing ads that are shown on TV with personalised ads, customers watching the same live stream online have a much more compelling service.”

Medialaan has configured the service so that ads shown in start-over (including just-behind-live) mode on the linear channels are non-skippable. However, ads you have already watched can be skipped. If you are catching up with ‘true-live’ by fast-forwarding through ad breaks, you will only be forced to watch the last ad break.

Viewers of the online linear channels see replacement, targeted ads whatever mode they are watching in (whether in true-live or ‘start-over’ (including where you rewound or paused content and are now behind-live). Rules are in place to ensure show sponsorships are respected, but in general there is lots of flexibility to show the online audience a different ad collection to what they would see if watching the broadcast TV channel.

Coucke highlights superior targeting options as one of the benefits of the Yospace DAI solution. “Where other solutions can target to age groups or gender, so provide a few alternative ‘streams’, this solution allows for a completely personalised experience. All attributes that a user provided during sign-up can be used as targeting parameters. We can also respect frequency capping rules so users do not see the same ad too often.”

Ads shown during start-over (including where you used rewind and are ‘behind-live’) can be any length. Short brand ads can be used as ‘fillers’, where appropriate, to achieve the desired break length.

Coucke talks about “radical innovation” on the Stievie Premium service and Edward New, Commercial Director at Yospace, reckons this project has taken online video ad replacement and targeting technology to a completely new level of sophistication. “The forward-thinking attitude of Medialaan has helped engineer a step-change in live television,” he declares.

The Stievie offer includes the Medialaan channels VTM, Q2, Vitaya, CAZ, VTMKZOOM, KADET and Qmusic plus the VRT channels Eén, Canvas and Ketnet. The SBS channels VIER, VIJF and ZES are also present, as are the Discovery channels Eurosport, TLC and Discovery. FOX channels (National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild) are also part of a bundle that costs EUR 9.99 a month. These channels account for almost 90% of TV viewing in Flanders.

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