How Adobe Primetime is Incorporating DASH

In March, I wrote about how Adobe Primetime is transitioning to MPEG-DASH, or DASH for short, which is a standard for adaptive bitrate (ABR) delivery of media to any device. This month, Abhinav Kapoor, Sr. Manager of Software Development at Adobe Primetime, shared the latest update at IBC 2015 regarding our plans to incorporate DASH and expand the use of DASH for streaming video.

In his presentation, Abhinav talks about Adobe Primetime’s support for DASH on HTML5, on our native clients across all the devices that we support, and about how we’re using DASH on both the client- and server-side. For example, Adobe Primetime has several server-side components that are ready for DASH, which has several benefits, including reducing the complexities around inserting ads on the server side. He also covers how we’re working on extensions to the standard in order to bring in support for features like WebVTT and common encryption for the rotation of licenses and keys.

Adobe Primetime looks forward to actively pursuing to integrate standards like DASH to engage audiences with premium TV experiences online. Interested in the full story? Watch Abhinav’s presentation in this video.  

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Parks Associates Report Download: What Matters When it Comes to Ad Insertion for Premium Programming

Parks Associates just released a new report about ad insertion, sponsored by Adobe Primetime. It’s for media executives looking to streamline ad insertion in over-the-top (OTT) video and TV Everywhere delivery. The report highlights the need to take a holistic approach to ad insertion and to properly evaluate the tradeoffs of server- and client-side approaches.

The report takes readers through four key areas of ad insertion. First, it covers the business and technical considerations such as scale, ad blocking, ad waste, ad decisioning, and analytics. Second, it explores the pros and cons of client-side and server-side approaches to ad insertion. Third, it discusses the companies that offer ad insertion capabilities, including Internet companies, content delivery networks (CDNs), encoding companies, online video platforms (OVPs), and cable technology vendors. Finally, it outlines the five things that matter the most about ad insertion: reach, efficiency, intelligence, engagement, and quality at scale.

To read the full report, sign up to get a free copy here.

Improving Startup Performance by Pre-Fetching Videos Faster with TVSDK 2.0

Adobe Primetime customers get a major improvement in startup performance from the Instant On feature in our new TVSDK 2.0.

What is Instant On?

Instant On is a feature in TVSDK 2.0 that allows app developers to pre-fetch video segments and queue them up for playback even before a viewer has selected them.

The Instant On difference

Without Instant On, when a viewer starts a video, the video player needs to wait until it has received enough data to start playing. Depending on factors like the video bitrate and network conditions, startup can take up to 10 seconds or even longer. With Instant On, the data needed to start playback is pre-fetched in the background so that startup only takes half a second or less. The chart below shows that in our tests, startup time can be over 3000% faster with Instant On.

The Instant On feature of TVSDK 2.0 improved startup time for premium programming playback by over 3000% in tests

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Four use cases for Instant On

There are four key ways that TV and video app developers can use Instant On.

  1. Keep two streams ready for instant playback
    Developers can make it painless for viewers to switch between two streams. For example, if a viewer is watching two sporting events at the same time, he or she would not want to experience buffering at each transition from one sporting event to the other. Instant On can be used to keep both streams ready for instant playback.
  2. Pre-fetch videos while viewers browse
    As viewers browse the options for what they could watch, developers can pre-fetch 3-6 of the most likely selections. Any viewer that picks one of the pre-fetched options will have a fast startup experience.
  3. Pre-fetch the next video coming up
    For viewers watching a programmed channel or playlist, Instant On can be used to pre-fetch the next video coming up. This provides a much more TV-like experience than one where every new show goes through a period of buffering.
  4. Pre-fetch paused videos
    Instant On also makes the viewing experience smoother for viewers that pause a stream. When they come back to the stream, Instant On can be used to start it right back up without any waiting.

Instant On powers a better viewer experience

Overall, Instant On makes the experience of watching premium programming over the internet more similar to watching TV. It does this by making startup times faster for instant playback including switching from one stream to another, making the first choice to play a video, transitioning from one show to the next episode, and returning to a show after pausing it. We’re excited to see developers take advantage of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0’s new Instant On feature.

Adobe Primetime is at IBC 2015 – Now faster in playing back premium experiences across OTT and TV-E

We’re attending the IBC conference and exhibition this week in Amsterdam, and excited about being part of an event that is focused on the latest technologies and business models powering the creation, management, and delivery of digital content to consumers. Check out our press release on how Adobe continues to advance video from content creation through delivery, including highlights from Adobe’s Creative and Marketing Cloud.

At IBC, we are previewing the new and improved Adobe Primetime stack, which includes faster playback with the instant-on capability of our latest TVSDK, more mobile-friendly, frictionless authentication with OAUTH 2.0, and new support for OTT and TV Everywhere measurement in Adobe Analytics.  Stop by the Adobe booth in G27 in Hall 7 if you are attending the event to learn more!

TVSDK 2.0 Improves Engagement and Monetization Across Devices

Starting today, Adobe Primetime customers can deploy the latest TVSDK across devices with ease. Our goal with Adobe Primetime TVSDK has always been to help TV providers and media companies build and deliver premium video experiences across IP-connected screens. This upgrade continues to serve this goal by helping developers achieve greater performance for their TV experiences, deploy with greater consistency to all the different screens and reach more screens in total.

Key improvements include:

  • Faster startup time for live streams by up to 500%
  • A unified architecture that will enable faster deployments to new devices and more synchronized access to new features across devices
  • Extended delivery to new OTT devices including Xbox One.

TVSDK 2.0 improvements

As a result of these improvements, Adobe Primetime customers are more equipped than ever to engage and monetize audiences across devices.

Achieve greater performance

Video apps and experiences must quickly respond to increase viewer engagement. To meet this expectation, Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 includes many new features that are designed to speed up response times. One exciting feature called Instant On allows app developers to pre-fetch video content in order to start its playback in under a second.

In tests, Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 sped up a wide range of performance measures. In comparison to TVSDK 1.3, it had startup times for premium VOD content that were 3000% faster, startup times for premium live content that were 500% faster, a 300% improvement on the time it takes to insert ad breaks and a 250% improvement to the fast-forward and fast-rewind functionalities.

Deploy with greater consistency across more devices

Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 has a new, unified architecture that makes it easier for TV and video app developers to deploy premium video experiences consistently across devices. The architecture includes a C++ core with a thin, platform-specific API surface that talks directly to the core. That API surface is consistent across devices. The architecture also includes a single JavaScript interface for talking to browsers.

This unified architecture offers two key benefits. First, it makes porting Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 to new devices faster. Already, this ease of porting has extended the reach of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 to Xbox One devices. Second, it makes the release of new features more synchronized across devices. Together, these benefits provide faster access to new devices and new features for Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 users.

Figure 2. Unified architecture of Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0

TVSDK 2.0 devices

Prepare to deploy to HTML5 environments

Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 paves the way to deploying premium TV experiences across HTML5 environments because it will serve as the fallback solution to TVSDK for HTML5. For example, if a customer deploys to desktop browsers with Adobe Primetime TVSDK for HTML5 but a viewer accesses it from a browser that does not support HTML5, TVSDK 2.0 will come in and provide the premium experience that the viewer expects to see.

Getting started

We’re excited to see Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 improve reach and monetization across devices. We’d like to help all our existing customers upgrade to Adobe Primetime TVSDK 2.0 as soon as possible. To get started, reach out to your Adobe Primetime account manager.

Adobe Primetime Nominated for Six Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards

Public voting is now open for the 9th annual Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards – where end users (you) choose the winners honoring the best online video technologies. We’re pleased to have Adobe Primetime nominated again for helping broadcasters, cable networks and service providers deliver and monetize engaging and personalized TV and film experiences across screens.

Adobe Primetime has been nominated in six categories – Closed Captioning Solution, DRM/Access Control Solution, Media & Entertainment Video Platform, OTT Platform for MSO and MVPD, Reporting & Analytics Platform (with Adobe Analytics), and Video Advertising Solution.

Please visit http://www.streamingmedia.com/ReadersChoice/2015/Vote.aspx by Oct. 1 to see all nominees and cast your votes across 29 categories. All voters will receive a confirmation e-mail after voting closes. The top three finalists in each category will be announced on Oct. 15 and winners will be named on Nov. 18 at Streaming Media West. We hope to see you there and thanks for helping get out the vote for the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards.

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Video: Strategies to Deploy Multiscreen TV Experiences

Following our Digital Video Forecast presentation at the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) Show in SF, the Head of Digital Products for Pac-12 Networks, Ryan Currier, and the Senior Manager Digital Research and Analytics at Shaw Media, Chris Hopkins, answered some key questions about deploying multiscreen TV experiences.

Watch a recording of the panel discussion to hear directly from Ryan and Chris their answers to questions including:

  • With the device landscape changing so rapidly, how do you prioritize getting onto all the different devices?
  • Everyone is talking about data. What is Shaw Media doing with audience data?
  • Which revenue models are important to Shaw Media and Pac-12 Networks?
  • How does viewership across devices vary by demo?
  • How are you thinking about programmatic?
  • Are buyers clambering for a new currency?
  • What does the TV of tomorrow look like?


The discussion hit on a few key takeaways. First, that quality is an essential consideration when rolling out TV experiences across devices. Second, that data went from a value add to table stakes. Third, that multiscreen experiences matter to all demos, not just Millennials. Be sure to watch the whole panel discussion in the video above.

Presenting our Digital Video Forecast from TVOT SF

In June, Adobe’s Joe Martin, Manager, Digital Index, presented a Digital Video Forecast presentation at The TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) Show in SF. This show is a global gathering for executives, technologists and creatives working in the interactive and multiplatform television industry. Joe shared a detailed analysis of trends impacting the industry, covering topics ranging from TV Everywhere to live streaming video apps.

Watch Joe’s full presentation in the video below and view the accompanying presentation slides.

Here are a few of the insights included in Joe’s presentation:

1. Over 13% of pay-TV subscribers were active monthly users f TV Everywhere in Q1 2015. That’s over 14 million people that are actively viewing TV Everywhere content.

TVOTSF 1

2. There was a 4x growth in connected TV usage between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015. This indicates that viewers are moving back into the living room now that the technology is there to support their viewing preferences.

TVOTSF 2

3. The number of ad starts per video start is growing the fastest on tablets and smartphones. This indicates the growing importance of mobile in video advertising.

TVOTSF 3

For more insights like these, be sure to watch Joe’s full presentation in the video above.

The $18B Conundrum: Adblocking Goes Mobile and Mainstream

According to research from Parks Associates, password-sharing is costing subscription video-on-demand sVOD services north of $500MM per year. Compare that with adblocking, which is costing ad-supported content providers $18B a year according to a new report from Adobe and Dublin-based PageFair.

$18B. With a “B.” That’s 36x the amount of economic damage inflicted by password-sharing. Let that sink in. Now take a deep breath, and let’s look at the problem.

Cause for Concern

Historically, the challenges posed by adblocking have been limited to the desktop. However, as consumption of television and film content have shifted to connected and mobile devices, the threat of adblocking has abated, or at least become less dire. Two major factors are now causing grave concern among content producers who rely on advertising as their primary revenue source:

  1. Apple’s iOS 9 will likely include adblocking features in Safari by default.
  2. Adblock plus is now available in limited beta for Android.

Safari on desktop maintains a paltry 3% market share, but it is by far the most widely used mobile web browser due the iPhone’s dominance (and Google’s unusual reluctance to end-of-life the native Android browser in favor of Chrome for Android, a decision that would narrow the gap with Safari mobile). If Apple extends its Content Blocking API to native mobile app developers for iOS, and if Adblock Plus for Android gains traction, the results could wreak longer-term havoc for ad-supported broadcasters and cable networks who monetize distribution to mobile devices.

Currently, measurement is one of the key factors limiting uptake in linear broadcast to mobile and connected devices within the traditional C3 and C7 windows. But as Nielsen and other measurement services improve their ability to evaluate audience composition across screens, and as addressability and programmatic improve and become more widespread, more dollars will flow from traditional linear to OTT and TV Everywhere. Adblocking on mobile devices, however, has the potential to slow this movement to a trickle. Why execute a multiscreen TV buy if viewers on half the screens can’t see the ad?

The Way Forward

There are no easy or obvious solutions to the problem of adblocking. We agree with Univision’s Kevin Conroy, who argued compellingly that marketers play a vital role in making digital advertising better. Marketers need to continue telling the right story to the right person at the right time, of course, but they also need to do it in a way that delights, or entertains, or informs the viewer.

For agencies and advertisers, Adobe offers Creative Cloud, a complete suite of tools for effective storytelling, and Adobe Marketing cloud, a solution that delivers the message. And for broadcasters, cable networks and distributors who sell advertising, we offer Adobe Primetime, a multiscreen TV solution for creating and monetizing live, linear and VOD programming in both over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere services. Our goal is to help customers leverage these solutions to deliver better consumer experiences and obviate the consumer desire to install adblockers in the first place.

This post was originally published on CMO.com, August 10, 2015.

Data and Apps Fuel Innovation in the TV Industry

The TV industry is sailing into an uncharted ocean of innovation. Already, some of the most innovative TV services leverage data and apps to deliver exciting new content experiences. The following trends could help inform how your organization pursues innovation, too.

1. TV companies are investing in data

Turner, ESPN, and Cablevision have something new in common. They’re all investing in data management platforms (DMPs). Here’s what execs from these companies have to say about it:

  • Talking about Turner Data Cloud, Stephen Kim, Chief Data Strategist at Turner said, “We want to build a central repository of information around consumption, tastes, geography, demographics and profile information for our viewers, and use that to deliver better value.” (via AdExchanger)
  • Regarding the proprietary ESPN DMP, Zachary Chapman, VP of digital and publisher sales at ESPN said, “There’s no reason that we shouldn’t have a DMP in place that allows us to analyze the data in a much more fluid way, and share with our agency partners.” (via MediaPost)
  • Discussing Cablevision’s Total Audience Application, or TAPP census-data platform, Ben Tatta, president of Cablevision Media Sales said, “This is a window into what lies ahead.” (via AdAge)

Expect more investment in data management from TV companies in the near future.

2. TV apps already proliferate in Apple’s App Store

This month, we estimated that roughly 60% of brands representing TV channels have distinct apps in the App Store. We counted over 150 TV brands with one or more channels on a leading cable network of which over 90 brands had an app in Apple’s App Store. This fits right into a prediction made here last month by TDG Research’s Joel Espelien who predicted that every meaningful TV brand will have its own app.

Already, hundreds of TV brands have the ability to look at every single button press and view happening within their apps. They can collect this data and use it to inform new innovations and make the viewer experience even better.

3. TV apps will soon proliferate on Google Play

We expect apps for Android TV on Google Play to grow by double this year or better. There are currently 46 apps for Android TV. Sony, Philips, Razer and Nvidia have Android TV devices on the market and Sharp has devices coming soon. As consumers purchase these new devices, it will lure the developers of existing TV apps to port their apps over to Android TV. App ports alone could double the number of apps on Android TV this year.

The Android TV user experience may delight consumers that struggle to find the right content across various siloed TV apps because it provides recommendations and voice search features that span all installed apps. According to TV Connect, Thomas Riedl, Google’s Global Head of Android TV Partnerships says, “When in the Android TV home screen, you’ll see a row of content recommended for you. These recommendations come from all the Android TV apps you have installed on that device and is based on which apps you’ve used on that device.”

It’s anybody’s guess where innovations around data and apps will ultimately lead. However, we’re pretty certain that DMPs and the proliferation of TV apps all have important roles to play in the future of TV.