Introducing Adobe MediaWeaver – Innovation for Video Ad Insertion Across Devices

Programmers and operators struggle to effectively insert video ads into professional content across devices. Adobe MediaWeaver addresses this challenge as a core component of the latest version of Project Primetime, announced today. To simplify the process of monetizing video content and create the optimal viewing experience for consumers, MediaWeaver merges three different workflows into one:

  • Seamless ad insertion into linear, live, and VoD video content using a proprietary form of “ad stitching.” This allows for dynamic ad execution into any content type, on any IP-connected desktop or device, creating an engaging, buffer-free ad and content experience for consumers.
  • Complete management of business rules and contractual obligations tied to inventory splits and syndication rights. This helps media companies control which partners can sell advertising against their audience and programs, creating as much value as possible from every viewer interaction.
  • Ad management (ADM), directing ad calls based on pre-defined rules and obligations to any ad server. This reduces friction throughout the broadcast-to-IP video and advertising workflow, and replicates the TV national and local ad inventory split for any video delivered to a desktop or device.

Adobe customers who use MediaWeaver can take advantage of off-the-shelf integration with Adobe Auditude, Adobe’s video ad server, or pass ad calls seamlessly to linear/VOD or IP-based third-party ad servers. MediaWeaver allows Adobe customers to adopt Project Primetime and its components in modular fashion, without disrupting existing workflows, implementations or contractual arrangements.

With MediaWeaver, broadcasters can replace or dynamically insert ads into adaptive video streams on any desktop and a broad range of IP-connected devices — without content prep or workflow changes.

MediaWeaver delivers smooth, immediate transitions into and out of ad breaks. This process mimics the ease and simplicity of TV broadcasting to set-top boxes, and handles national and local inventory splits effortlessly – without sacrificing the addressability of a digital environment.

Check out the video overview below along with blog posts on our other latest Project Primetime updates: Primetime Media Player and full integration across Adobe advertising and data solutions.

 

Project Primetime Integrations Make It Easier to More Effectively Monetize Professional Video

In addition to our Project Primetime announcements introducing Adobe MediaWeaver and the Primetime Media Player SDK, we are excited to unveil deep integrations between our analytics and advertising solutions. As the benefits of Adobe’s acquisitions and integration with internal development become apparent, video publishers, for the first time, can combine content and ad analytics, enabling comprehensive analyses of revenue opportunities and optimization of ad policies in order to improve audience engagement with content and ads.

By combining content analytics from Adobe SiteCatalyst and revenue analytics from Adobe Auditude, we break down the legacy silos and empower ad inventory managers and revenue executives to make the most profitable ad decisions for their campaigns. Available as an “out-of-the box” solution, SiteCatalyst content analytics are used to automatically create audience segments in Adobe AudienceManager, our data management platform. Then, with the integration of AudienceManager and Auditude, Adobe’s ad serving technology, these segments are automatically available in Auditude, and can be used to serve ads accordingly. Use cases include enhanced audience segment targeting or the ability to optimize your ad load/experience to find that optimal balance between content and ads. This increased insight and customization of the ad experience aids in maximizing the value of video content.

Project Primetime is innovating quickly because the media landscape is evolving at a blistering pace. Creating an immersive viewing experience like that of broadcast TV with finer-grained targeted appropriate to a given audience has long been a goal of premium video publishers. That future is now here, and these integrations represent a unique combination for the industry, especially when combined with the recent updated release of the Auditude platform, which includes new forecasting algorithms and real-time availability queries.

Make sure to check out the information on Adobe MediaWeaver and the Primetime Media Player SDK announcements along with the video overview below. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

Auditude Takes Home Award and Celebrates Anniversary With New Update

It’s been a busy week here for the Project Primetime team. In the midst of celebrating the anniversary of Auditude joining Adobe, our industry-leading ad server was awarded the Streaming Media Reader’s Choice Award for Video Advertising Management Platform.  We joined some pretty solid company with Adobe Media Server, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe SiteCatalyst also picking up awards, all presented at Streaming Media West in Los Angeles.

Adobe Auditude and Adobe Media Server are pillars of Project Primetime, and these awards were delivered at a time of accelerating innovation from the team. Auditude just released an update — the highlights from that release are numerous, but three important features that are resonating with customers include:

Advanced forecasting. One of our most-requested enhancements, seasonality and consumption trends can now be projected with our advanced forecasting algorithm. Every publisher has content that is either increasing or decreasing in popularity, and these trends can vary based on the program, duration, genre, geo, etc. Similarly, ad ops can forecast spikes and drops in certain types of content experience based on day of week, month, or season. For example, some network shows trail off in viewership during the summer. Existing, 28-day based algorithms would fail to predict this drop, putting inventory managers at risk for missing campaign goals due to lack of inventory. Auditude makes sure this never happens by detecting these trends and applying them to its forecasts.

* Smart Groups. Publishers can surface potential problem ads before they cause issues. Smart Groups allow ad traffickers to access – with just one click – all the ads that fit different, customizable sets of criteria. For example, a Smart Group can identify ads beginning in three days that are missing creative, giving an ad trafficker sufficient time to correct the problem.

* Real-time Availability.  Ad ops can run an availability check on any inventory segment within a few seconds,  so they can respond without delay to maximize revenue potential. Now, inventory managers can instantly approve proposals, allowing their ad sales teams to be more nimble and responsive to advertisers.

Feature-rich as well, Adobe Media Server released version 5 at IBC to help programmers meet FCC requirements for closed captioning and deliver protected streams via HLS to Apple devices.

It’s an exciting time in the industry and it’s rewarding to see our products recognized both by our peers and customers.  But we’re not slowing down — stay tuned for more soon!

BBC: “The biggest broadcasting event in our 90 year history”

A blog post from the BBC Director General Mark Thompson has paid tribute to the Olympian efforts of everyone at the BBC who delivered what he calls “the biggest broadcasting event in our 90 year history” referring of course to the 2012 London Games.

The opening ceremony entered the record books as the most-watched programs in the history of the BBC, and figures across all 24 channels of sport were astonishingly high.

While the top ten events took most of the internet feeds, 50 percent of consumption was for ‘less popular’ events, validating the BBC’s decision to have all sports, all the time, with rewind and catch-up capabilities.

There was also clear evidence of viewers taking the Olympics with them throughout the day. Looking at how people were accessing the BBC coverage online, PC usage peaked at lunchtime, mobile peaked after work around 6pm and tablet use was highest around 9pm. These truly were the world’s first digital games.

More interesting details pointed out by the BBC include:

– The Opening Ceremony drew a peak broadcast audience of 27.1 million people (including the red button), of which 9.2 million were via the mobile site and 2.3 million on tablets
– On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold and it shifted 700 Gb/s
– Chapter marking enabled audiences to go back to key event moments instantly – receiving an average 1.5 million clicks per day – 13,000 clicks alone for Bolt’s 100m Final win
– The first week of the games was the most popular ever for BBC Sport Online with a total of 34.7 million browsers 50 million requests for the BBC Sport’s live video interactive streams and more than 106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platform
– BBC Sport Online’s most requested live video stream was of the Tennis Singles Finals, where Andy Murray and Serena Williams were victorious.

Changing the world through digital experiences requires a shared vision. By working with the BBC, an organization with a mandate to push technology boundariesand introduce innovative new services to its viewers, Adobe and all the broadcast partners have delivered an incredible feat of broadcast engineering both online and on devices.

As a publicly funded service, the BBC has delivered tremendous value to UK citizens, not only via traditional broadcast, but also through the delivery of the games online and across devices. Adobe, through elements of Adobe’s Project Primetime, is extremely proud of the role it played in helping the BBC deliver its outstanding Olympics coverage and of the deep partnerships formed with the BBC’s Future Media team.

Some nice user comments we’ve seen:

I think that I just got a lifetimes value from my license fee in 2 weeks!! – Mike Thomsett

I’ve always thought the License Fee was worth paying; now I think that more than ever. The BBC isa credit to Britain and sets the standard to which broadcasters around the world aspire…Thank you BBC, I have fallen in love with you again – Andrew McNeil

We would like to congratulate the BBC and its leadership for the vision, collaboration, passion and drive that has set a new bar for broadcast, extending far beyond what we know today as “television”. London 2012 has set the stage for every broadcaster around the world to bring TV content and new digital experiences online.

New revenue opportunities for media companies and advertisers as similarities between broadcast and digital video advertising grow

Today, at the NAB Conference in Las Vegas, we released a study highlighting key trends in online ad engagement and monetization within digital video content. Among several important insights, strong user ad engagement across connected devices shows that online video ad viewing within professional content mirrors that of traditional broadcast television.

Online mid-roll ads, which are much like traditional TV commercial breaks, outperform pre-roll ads by almost 30 percent, suggesting that viewers are engaged by a more TV-like ad experience online. Similarly, more than 5 video ads are served during long-form, professional content. Judging by the 70 percent completion rate of these ads, viewers are more willing to watch ads through their entirety in exchange for the professional content they desire. Live content continues to drive higher engagement rates, at 85 percent, when compared to video-on-demand content.

The next five years will bring a dramatic shift in the media landscape affecting all constituents – consumers, media companies and advertisers – as digital video viewing habits evolve, partially driven by the proliferation of connected devices. Nearly 100 million adults, 48 percent of all adult internet users, will use an internet connection to watch TV programs in the next three years. Over the same period of time, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video, and serving ads into mobile video will become a critical revenue opportunity for publishers. From a video advertising perspective, this report showed engagement with TV-like ads on mobile devices had the highest engagement rates at 94%.

The results of the report demonstrate the revenue opportunities for media companies and advertisers as they take greater advantage of professional content online. If you are at NAB this week, stop by our booth (2624 South Hall), where we are demonstrating Adobe’s Project Primetime, our solution for turning linear content into seamless, TV-like experiences across IP connected devices by integrating Adobe’s publishing, advertising and analytics capabilities.

Co-existence, Not Cannibalization

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage at Adobe’s Digital Marketing Summit with Prateek Alsi from Time Warner Cable Media. In a fireside chat format (which seemed a bit out of context because it was 70 degrees in Salt Lake City this week!), we explored the state of digital video.  As you know from your own media consumption habits (or watching any child with an iPad or smartphone), online video viewing is growing. Most market research shows that over the next 5 years the number of people watching online video could grow as much as 50% and represent up to three quarters of all internet-enabled users. A lot of this increased appetite for digital video is fueled by the proliferation of connected devices – smartphones, tablets, connected TV’s and gaming consoles. Connected devices will become as ubiquitous as TV’s in the house.  So, one may think that broadcasters, operators and programmers feel threatened by this trend.  Quite the contrary. Most industry folks that I talk with, including my very knowledgeable fireside co-presenter, or clients that we work with, like Major League Baseball, are embracing the trend and charting strategies to take advantage of the opportunity. Those strategies include one that I am particularly fond of – providing access to and dynamically inserting video ads into content on any connected device.

There is a good reason why they are and should be embracing this trend. Online video viewing will not be at the expense of TV. It’s complementary. Total media consumption is growing and will continue to grow as it becomes more efficient and convenient for a viewer to access content where, when and how they desire. Simply said, TV (linear) and digital video viewing is about co-existence, not cannibalization. Given that fact, there are tremendous opportunities for content owners and distributors to better engage and monetize their audiences. And, this is where Adobe is focused.

There are a number of challenges to be addressed in this co-existence strategy, like cross platform measurement, multi-channel ad buying, cross-platform ad experiences, and improving user experience across devices, but we’ll leave those topics for another time. Until then, let the cross-channel collaborative thinking begin.

Confession of an Ad Guy

I have a confession to make. I’ve been in the digital ad business since 1999 – a long time by internet standards – and my entire perspective on what makes the digital world go round has been advertising. The reality, especially in digital video, is that is wrong.

I didn’t realize the challenges until I became the CEO of Auditude and was hit smack in the face by the many hurdles limiting our customer’s ability to monetize their content – well before an ad is sold, trafficked, or served. In fact, there is a lot of work that goes into creating and serving up the content before you can even think about monetizing it with ads – and if the ad guys like me aren’t working with their content counterparts – the opportunity that online video advertising represents will never come to fruition.

My point is – it’s time for the digital industry to break out of its silos. Media companies and publishers have been forced to piece together best-of-breed point solutions, make their own investments in technology to fill the gaps and/or build the bridges, and then hope their partners work together. This has made it inefficient and difficult for media companies and publishers to maximize the value of content they want to bring online – putting them at a huge disadvantage in a world of disruption.

This is the exact problem Adobe addresses with the announcement of Project Primetime.   By seamlessly combining publishing, advertising and analytics into a single platform, many of the inefficiencies mentioned above are addressed. Project Primetime breaks down the silo’ed walls that have existed to help media companies and publishers more efficiently and effectively deliver and monetize their digital content across connected devices.

When I shared this vision with a room full of digital advertising executives yesterday at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, there was much agreement with the challenges in bringing more digital content online and there was great positive response to the Project Primetime vision and demo we shared. From an advertising perspective (here I go again with my advertising-centric perspective :)), the benefits include:

  • A better viewer experience, which aids content and ad engagement
  • More scalable deliver of ads to connected devices
  • Combining content and ad analytics to provide revenue-based insights

In less than 4 months since announcing its acquisition of Auditude, Adobe has begun to deliver on an integrated vision it is uniquely positioned to solve; moving swiftly into helping monetize content and delivering a platform that will benefit those companies looking to bring more content online.

 

Online Video Is Ready for “Primetime”

We are excited to announce Project Primetime, Adobe’s integrated video technology platform to enable smooth, TV-like experiences for ad-supported videos across Web-connected devices.

Primetime creates a single workflow for premium video publishers and media companies that interconnects Adobe streaming technologies, content protection, analytics and optimization with the recently acquired Auditude video advertising platform.

By integrating content publishing, advertising, and analytics – video publishers will be able to give consumers a superior viewing experience through seamless dynamic ad insertion into any content type, whether linear, live or on-demand across Web-connected devices. Adobe Digital Marketing Suite is integral to Primetime, ensuring that media companies are able to combine consumption and revenue data to increase the relevance of their content and ads.

The Industry Needs Integrated Video Solution to Bring Content and Ad Dollars Online

The adoption of web-enabled devices by consumers over the past few years has been staggering.  Between desktop computers, tablets, smart phones, game consoles, and SmartTVs, consumers have at their fingertips billions of devices that can deliver media experiences over the Internet.

And, advertisers have long shown their desire to reach audiences in engaging experiences like video.  The “offline” TV advertising market will be $200+ B by 2014.  Within online advertising, advertisers want to shift spending video.  A recent eMarketer report (June 2011) forecasts video growing from about 14% to over 32% of total digital advertising spending by 2015, taking market share from both banner and rich media advertising.

The audience is enabled, the advertiser is interested – so why is less than 5% of professionally produced content available online?

1. The user experience for audiences viewing video ads today is inferior to television.  I don’t know about you – but my TV attached to my set top box doesn’t buffer between the programming and the ads.  But, with online video, the processing required to load client heavy advertising plug-ins often triggers that flickering circle. And who wants to wait for an ad to buffer?  No one – and that’s a problem for viewers, publishers and advertisers alike.

Primetime eliminates the need for heavy advertising plug-ins by moving more of the processing to the cloud, which means no more flickering circles waiting for ads to load, whether you’re on a desktop or mobile device. It feels like what you see on TV, but on any device.

2. Connected devices are fragmented.  My set top box could connect to any TV and playback the same content stream from my PayTV provider.  But online the opposite is true.  Every device platform supports largely different technology – making it complex and expensive for publishers to build video experiences for every device.  Today, publishers have to make hard tradeoffs on which devices to support – which reduces their audience size and revenue potential

Primetime enables a single workflow to reach the majority of web-enabled device platforms, whether smartphone, tablet, game console, desktop or SmartTV.

3. Inserting ads into connected devices is hard.   Connected device platforms have introduced new technologies and workflows for streaming video content – where ad insertion has not been well defined.  Creating scalable models for inserting ads into connected devices is exacerbated by the lower processing power of connected devices, versus desktop computers.

Primetime enables both server-side and client-side integrations of content and ads that allow for efficient and scalable delivery of monetizable video content.

4. Ad and content analytics are siloed.  Video publishers typically use separate systems (usually from different companies) to measure how their audiences engaged with content from how their audiences engaged with ads.  This impairs visibility into the correlation between audience engagement with content and ad revenue.

Primetime combines site-side analytics from Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite with ad analytics from Auditude to provide revenue-base analytics used to increase revenue and engagement.

In short – through an integrated content and advertising workflow and better data-driven monetization, Project Primetime will empower the content and ad ecosystem, which will make it possible for more content to flow online.

Primetime Highlights

As part of the first phase of Primetime, we are showcasing Primetime Highlights, which enables video publishers to create and publish live event highlights, with ads, in minutes.

Event highlights are a great way to show the power of integrating video publishing and advertising.  First, viewers only watch highlights for a few hours after events occur.  If you can’t quickly publish and monetize a highlight, it’s not worth creating it.  Second, user experience really matters with short form content – viewers are more likely to abandon if there is buffering, etc.

How does it work?  We’ve created a highlight tool that is tightly integrated with the Auditude ad platform.  The highlight tool lets you set the in and out points of the clip, and add metadata like title, genre, etc.  Once you hit publish, the Auditude platform automatically knows that ad inventory is available, and can target ads based on the metadata entered in the highlight tool.  To make this even easier to implement, we are also providing a full video player*.

Here’s a video of how it works:

After acquiring Auditude about three months ago, we are thrilled to be bringing Primetime to market to accelerate online video, starting with Primetime Highlights.  Expect us to be equally aggressive in supporting 24×7 linear, on-demand, and live with more announcements coming throughout 2012.

Check back tomorrow for Jens Loeffler’s take on our Adobe Access support for iOS.  And, for more insight into our MPEG-DASH announcement, see Kevin Towes’ blog post here.