Paul Davies, Yospace
Broadcasting is in a state of transition, with the future of TV seemingly being in the lap of content owners who now have a direct route to their audience. A number of trade headlines would have you believe that linear TV is dying a slow but inevitable death as viewers expect to be able watch whatever, whenever, and across multiple devices. Thatâ€™s the theory, but in reality the truth is a little more complex.
The concept of linear â€“ or live TV â€“ will never go away. Live sports and news events will ensure its future, but itâ€™s going to look a little different as it moves online. Having provided DAI services for major events such as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa AmÃ©rica, and looking ahead to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, it is clear here at Yospace that a new generation of live streaming viewers is rapidly emerging.
TV consistently outperforms all other media in terms of sales and profit, and, somewhat inevitably, that new generation of viewers is capturing the imagination of broadcasters who are keen to monetise their live streaming presence. The most forward-thinking are deploying innovative, targeted advertisement replacement solutions.
Streaming services are increasing revenues for broadcasters
The money-generating possibilities surrounding server-side ad replacement have increased dramatically in the last couple of years. This is partly due to the viewer experience reflecting that of the original broadcast, with transitions to and from ad breaks appearing seamless and frame-accurate, resulting in the user being unaware they are watching replacement ads. Itâ€™s also due to the ability to customise advertisements to the individual, ensuring they are far more relevant to viewers who, as a result, are far more likely to watch the ad break all the way through to the end.
A fundamental factor in the success of ad replacement is reliability with scale. The technology must be stable enough to serve personalised ads to broadcast-sized audiences, with millions of viewers watching simultaneously. In the case of major sports or news events, where the exact timing of a break is fluid and cannot be strictly pre-planned, ad calls must be made in real-time, on-the-fly â€“ so having the most robust and reliable platform is essential.
Delivering consistent, dependable results
Dynamic Ad Insertion solutions provide in-stream ad replacements with seamless transitions (removing all-too-familiar issues of buffering and spinning dials). Ideal for broadcasts occurring online, on smart TVs, tablets or other mobile devices, ad insertion can be performed for each and every delivered stream.
An example can be found with the UKâ€™s biggest music television provider, BoxTV. In a strategy aimed at increasing its advertising proposition across its 15 million monthly stream starts, BoxTV chose Yospace to enable dynamic ad replacement with personalisation. The result was that view-through rates reached 96 per cent, a 20 per cent increase compared to conventional digital advertising, contributing to a four-fold increase in online advertising revenue.
Scottish broadcaster STV demonstrated the power and potential of ad replacement technology with a channel called â€˜STV Watch Liveâ€™, which was launched in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and was free to view for registered users. The registration element was key as it allowed STV to gain insights into its audience, and then use dynamic advertisement replacement to deliver personally targeted ads to them.
Alistair Brown of STV, said: â€œHistorically, live streaming was not a big priority for us, for reasons including the costs associated with encoding and delivery, reducing the benefits to us of providing such a service. Yospaceâ€™s technology has presented us with a new world of opportunity. Weâ€™ve been able to insert standard border ads into live streams, helping us to achieve our commercial goals. This is replacement advertising at its highest level and it has changed the whole outlook of live streaming. Rather than being a financial burden to us, it is actually contributing to our growing digital revenues.â€
Looking beyond the UK, Chilean broadcaster Canal 13 recently implemented interactive advertisement replacement technology into its online coverage, as host broadcaster, of the 2015 Copa AmÃ©rica football tournament. The interactive element was enabled by a call-to-action button on the screen, which a viewer would click to open up a webpage associated with the particular ad or promotion they were watching. Following the tournament, Canal 13 reported a highly impressive 98.7 per cent view-through rate.
Persuading viewers to act upon the adverts they watch has always been a big challenge for broadcasters. The new era of replacement advertising that weâ€™re now seeing provides a compelling business case for live streaming and dynamic ad replacement technology. The emerging generation of live online viewers is set to grow, along with digital revenues, for a long time yet.