Author Archive: Ashley Still

Ashley Still

About Ashley Still

Ashley Still is the director of product management for Video Solutions at Adobe. She joined the video solutions team in 2008, and is responsible for product strategy for Adobe's video publishing technologies (streaming + content protection), Adobe Pass authentication service, and recently acquired Auditude ad platform. Ashley holds a BA from Yale, an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and as her Sicilian relatives will tell you, used to speak much better Italian than she does now. She's been hooked on how technology can personalize programming since bringing home one of the first demo TiVo boxes, which had to be covered in tinfoil to reduce interference with the cable box.

Introducing the Primetime Media Player – A New Way to Distribute, Monetize and Analyze Online Video Content

As part of the major updates announced to Project Primetime today, we’re thrilled to introduce a beta of the Primetime Media Player. At the core of Primetime, this is the industry’s first technology enabling TV content owners and distributors to reach the broadest audience while immediately monetizing online video experiences through seamless ad insertion and analytics. We’re taking several Adobe video technologies and putting them under a single framework to provide a SDK for video content playback on Mac OS and Windows, plus native iOS and Android apps.

The Primetime Media Player allows for a richer, more robust viewing experience on desktops and mobile devices within apps. With seamless ad insertion and native support for protected playback built into the Player, consumers will enjoy faster video load times, fewer playback errors, and a less obtrusive advertising experience.  In short, it just feels like TV.  Consumers will also enjoy greater control over their content experience with support for closed captioning and multiple audio tracks (e.g. Spanish or English) when provided by the video publisher.  The end result is a positive online video playback experience where the consumer gets what they want – when and how they want it.   And, importantly, Primetime Media Player gives publishers and distributors a clear way to drive revenue from their online video experiences, without compromising user experience or audience reach.

Some benefits of the Primetime Media Player include:

  • High-quality Multiple Bit Rate (MBR) video playback support.
  • HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) support on iOS and Android.
  • HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) support on desktop and Android.
  • Content monetization, including ad insertion capabilities and seamless ad insertion with native integration through Adobe MediaWeaver.
  • Better insight into your consumer viewing habits and stream quality with native integration with Adobe SiteCatalyst.
  • Content Protection and Business Policy Enforcement through Adobe Access – Full DRM and Protected Streaming with selectable output control and key rotation for linear, live and on-demand video.

The Primetime Media Player also offers fully compliant Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) features:

  • Render in-stream closed captioning with built-in support for user-based rendering overrides
  • Native support for multiple audio tracks

We’ve designed the Primetime Media Player with ease-of-deployment in mind. Consumers can take advantage of the Player now with very little effort. The only requirement for desktop experiences is installing Adobe Flash Player (version 11.1 or higher). With iOS and Android, it’s already bundled within native apps so no additional plug-ins or downloads are required.  Content formatting and encryption for desktops, iOS and Android is made easy via Adobe StreamKit, which can be integrated into a third party encoder or run as a separate tool. We will continue to announce support for more web-connected platforms in the future, such as game consoles, Over-the-Top (OTT) devices, and connected TVs. We’re excited to see the Primetime Media Player deliver an improved broadcast TV experience online while consumers reap the benefits.

Check out the video overview of Project Primetime below and our other blogs posts around other Primetime updates: Adobe MediaWeaver, our new ad insertion service, and full integration with Adobe advertising and data solutions. Stay tuned for more updates around Project Primetime coming soon!

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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.

 

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