Future-Proofing OTT: New Partnership Solves for DRM Fragmentation

At NAB this year, we’re announcing a partnership that will allow Adobe Primetime customers to protect live, linear, and VOD content using the native DRM for every device and platform.

Our new multi-DRM solution, Adobe Primetime DRM, powered by ExpressPlay, will support:

  • Microsoft PlayReady to reach browsers including Internet Explorer and Edge on Windows and devices including Amazon Fire and Xbox
  • Google Widevine to reach browsers including Chrome and devices including those running Android
  • Adobe Primetime Access (formerly Adobe Access) to reach browsers including Firefox and legacy browsers on desktop
  • Apple FairPlay Streaming to reach devices including those running iOS

Adobe Primetime DRM is a hosted service that:

  • Reduces the complexity of managing and issuing DRM licenses
  • Reduces the number of authentication and entitlement systems that a provider needs to integrate
  • Leverages the highest level of content protection available on each browser or device
  • Works seamlessly with Adobe Primetime TVSDK
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Adobe Primetime HTML5 TVSDK Now Available for Multiscreen Playback

Adobe leading the industry to deliver on the promise of HTML5

HTML5 has become an essential technology for delivering video experiences to desktop and mobile web browers, and to other environments that support the standard. Consider these numbers:18% of consumers are watching mobile video only or mostly in HTML5 environments, according to the IAB’s Mobile Video 2015 report. The report says that when consumers watch videos on their smartphone, 40% use the mobile web as much or more than mobile apps.

Adobe is excited to announce that our Adobe Primetime HTML5 player framework will soon be in general availability (GA). Players built using the new HTML5 TVSDK will benefit from the same level of quality, performance, and reliability at scale in our multi-platform TVSDK, which has become the industry’s gold standard with features including Instant On and complex ad insertion capabilities.

The new Adobe Primetime TVSDK capability supports video content and advertising playback in HTML5-compliant live, linear and on-demand OTT environments, including all modern browsers and mobile web. With HTML5 TVSDK, media companies can now reach more devices, monetize experience more effectively, and launch new direct-to-consumer and TV Everywhere services faster.

Adobe has a rich history with HTML5 and the Open Web. We believe that open source enables innovation and is, with open standards, a key enabler of modular and extensible architectures. By contributing to the open-source community and making our proprietary standards and products more compatible with open standards, we’re leading the industry to make the Web and digital video more immersive, interactive and engaging for everyone.

The best way to make HTML5 work for broadcasters

HTML5 alone doesn’t support everything that broadcasters need in order to manage multiscreen video distribution. It only partially solves for fragmentation, and it doesn’t provide unified ways to protect, monetize, and measure content across screens. However, technology providers can extend the capabilities of HTML5 with player technology and an underlying technology platform that caters to the needs of broadcasters. With the right solution set, HTML5 can form the foundation of a successful multiscreen distribution strategy.

TV Today: New Research from Adobe & TDG Shows Consumers Now Spend 42% of TV Time with OTT Services

Consumers’ video streaming behavior has fundamentally changed the competitive landscape of  the TV industry. Media companies now find themselves in a battle for attention, engagement, and audiences. To understand this competitive landscape better, we worked with The Diffusion Group to survey video streamers off all ages.

Here are a few of the key insights from this research. 

Among adult video streamers:

  • 42% of time spent in front of the television screen at home is spent with either subscription, transactional, or free streaming video services.
  • 65% of this OTT time on the home TV screen is spent watching subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), 30% is spent watching free streaming services (also known as FVOD), and 5% is spent watching transactional streaming services (also known as TVOD).

     Weekly hours spent watching OTT on a household TV among all adult video streamers, by age

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     Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

In the subscription streaming video category:

  • 82% of adult video streamers subscribe to some type of online subscription video service.
  • Netflix tops the list at 70% use among adult video streamers, followed by Amazon Prime at 33%, and Hulu Plus at 21%.

     Percent of adult video streamers using online subscription video

streaming video survey image 2[1]
     Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

In the free streaming video category:

  • 88% of adult video streamers use free online video services.
  • YouTube is by far the most popular free online video service. It is used by 83% of adult video streamers. It is followed by Hulu at 23% and Crackle at 19%.

     Percent of adult video streamers using free streaming video

streaming video survey image 3
     Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

In the transactional video category:

  • 34% of adult video streamers use a transactional streaming video service.
  • iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Instant View are the top three transactional streaming video services.

     Percent of adult video streamers using transactional streaming video

streaming video survey image 4
     Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

In the TV Everywhere category:

  • 17% of adult video streamers (who also subscribe to pay-TV) engage with their TV provider’s TV Everywhere app, while 12% engage with the TV Everywhere apps provided by TV networks. This is largely consistent with the most recent Adobe Digital Index Video Benchmark research.

     Familiarity and usage by type of TV Everywhere streaming service

streaming video survey image 5
     Source: “Streaming Video Survey Analysis,” by The Diffusion Group, January 2016.

These insights are just a small sampling of what’s available in the full report. It also covers consumers’ opinions on the impact of streaming video services on traditional TV, commercials and commercial avoidance, value of service, reasons for preferring one service over another, effect of original programming on streaming, future intentions for traditional TV, and more. 

Growing TV Everywhere Adoption to 70%, Part 1: Three Critical Stages in the Consumer’s TV Everywhere Journey

Serious attention is required to grow TV Everywhere adoption from 17% to 70%

At Adobe, we believe that consumer adoption of pay-TV across screens, also known as TV Everywhere, can grow to reach 70% of pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2017. It’s a reasonable prediction because there’s already a large and growing audience that’s regularly watching TV programming on connected devices. For example, 91 million adults in the U.S. viewed content on a TV-connected device during an average week in July 2015, as measured by Nielsen. In the same week, 95 million adults watched smartphone video, 76 million watched PC video, and 36 million watched tablet video.

Yet, getting TV Everywhere adoption from the 17.4% of pay-TV subscribers that it reaches now to 70% of pay-TV subscribers will require a serious industry effort to improve the consumer’s TV Everywhere journey. As the industry invests in this effort, we believe TV Everywhere will also be complemented by direct-to-consumer (D2C) OTT services, which are growing the overall market for online TV programming. Both TV Everywhere and D2C services have an important role to play in the future of TV.

Where to focus in the TV Everywhere journey to drive adoption and use

The consumer’s TV Everywhere journey starts with awareness, should grow with content discovery, and should not be impeded by cumbersome sign in requirements. That’s why Adobe views these three stages — awareness, content discovery, and sign-in — as the critical stages that the pay-TV industry should focus on in order to drive TV Everywhere adoption and use.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges at each stage:

  1. Among pay-TV subscribers who don’t use TV Everywhere, 53% say they’ve never heard the term – Pay-TV subscribers need to know what TV Everywhere is, how to get started with it, and the key fact that it’s included with their existing cable or satellite TV service. It’s a big challenge to communicate how one set of credentials, in the form of a username and password from the consumer’s cable or satellite TV provider, provides access to hundreds of premium sites and apps. However, once consumers know this and experience the incredible value of it for themselves, it’ll boost their satisfaction with pay-TV and the loyalty they have to their pay-TV provider.
  2. There’s no channel flipping to drive awareness of new programming on pay-TV – Once consumers have tried TV Everywhere, they need easy methods to explore and be alerted to what they can access, and where and when it can be accessed. Where channel flipping and word of mouth were the traditional ways of discovering new content through linear TV, something has to clue users into where to go for that live sporting event they want to watch or the new series premiere they’re excited about.
  3. TV-E is still difficult to sign into and access Deadline reports that cable and satellite companies have badly botched their rollout of TV Everywhere streaming. Even when consumers get past the awareness and content discovery hurdles and begin to use TV Everywhere on a regular basis, the sign in requirements are too cumbersome. The ideal experience would be for viewers to move directly from a content discovery mode to playing the actual content itself without hitting a sign in wall.

The challenges at each of these three critical stages in the consumer’s TV Everywhere journey are very different from one another. The first is largely a marketing challenge, the second an innovation challenge, and the third a technical challenge. But the goal of addressing these challenges is the same: to help TV Everywhere reach its full potential to entertain approximately 78 million pay-TV subscribers every month.

Tune in next time to continue the focus on growing TV Everywhere adoption to 70%

This is the first article in a four-part series that aims to spark the actions that will help the pay-TV industry take TV Everywhere adoption to new heights. In the articles to follow this one, I’m going to do a deep dive into each critical stage in the journey. I’ll focus first on improving awareness, then content discovery, and finally the sign in experience. I hope you’ll join me next week for the deep dive into how the pay-TV industry can grow consumer awareness of TV Everywhere.

Helping the TV Industry Accelerate the Success of OTT Video Services

Today’s viewers are fundamentally changing how they watch TV shows, movies, and sports, with many tuning in via apps and Internet-based services. Some viewers are even cutting the cord to their cable service or satellite package and seeking alternatives. An emerging option for consumers is a la carte access to multiscreen, over-the-top (OTT) services across platforms like mobile devices, game consoles, and Smart TVs.

Over 50% of U.S. households will become cord-cutting, OTT households by 2025

Cord-cutting, OTT households will become the majority of U.S. households within 10 years, according to PwC and Baird. In a PwC survey published in December 2015, 58% of cable subscribers said they would not be cable subscribers by 2025. Similarly, a Baird survey conducted in August 2015 found that 56% of respondents believe a streaming service will be their primary TV provider by 2025.

How media companies can leverage digital marketing tools to address cord cutting

Today, Adobe unveiled Adobe Primetime OTT, enabled by Adobe Marketing Cloud to help media companies respond to the cord-cutting trend by providing better-than-TV experiences for consumers via mobile, desktop and connected TV devices. The goal is to help TV networks and pay-TV providers engage directly with their viewers, grow their audiences, and personalize and monetize premium video experiences in these compelling ways:

  • Building your audience: Data-driven marketing with Adobe Primetime OTT drives profitable viewers into new services while keeping acquisition costs down. It helps to define the viewer, reach them with multi-channel campaigns, optimize spend towards effective campaigns, and personalize the on-site experience.
  • Engaging your audience: Data-driven engagement with Adobe Primetime OTT keeps churn rates down by driving up viewing time, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. It helps to surface personalized recommendations, keep viewers engaged through the quality of experience, and keep OTT services top of mind even when viewers leave the app.
  • Monetizing your audience: Flexible monetization options within Adobe Primetime OTT empowers programmers and operators to support monthly subscriptions, transactional, and advertising models. It helps to drive more targeted advertising revenue across identified audiences across all platforms.
  • Measuring the audience impact: Aggregated data from an engine that houses hundreds of billions of data points will improve the acquisition, engagement and monetization of audiences when fed into the rest of the Adobe Marketing Cloud activation capabilities.

A robust partner ecosystem will help media companies stand up subscription based video services

Adobe Primetime is a trusted provider for the delivery of multiscreen experiences at scale. To make it quicker and easier to stand up the most engaging subscription based OTT video services, Adobe has partnered with the top companies in system integration, video distribution, subscription billing, and customer identity management. Here’s what these partners have to say about Adobe Primetime OTT:

Barbara Venneman, Principal at Deloitte Digital says, “Media companies are seeking the opportunity to build a stronger, more direct relationship with viewers. It starts with tested solutions implemented by a creative digital consultancy, which is why Deloitte Digital is excited to be working with Adobe to help media companies plan and launch OTT video services quickly, cost-effectively, and at scale.

Bill Wheaton, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Media at CDN services provider, Akamai says, “We expect online video traffic from our OTT customers to be orders of magnitude larger in the future than it is today. Adobe Primetime OTT and Akamai puts broadcasters, cable networks and service providers at the center of this growth where they can capture the time, attention, and loyalty of video viewers on a massive scale.”

Craig Barberich, Global Head of Media at Zuora says, “Traditional media companies will fully embrace OTT with the support of software-as-a-service solutions like Adobe Primetime OTT.  As the global leader in subscription monetization, Zuora understands that once they’ve gone OTT, they’ll innovate on pricing and packaging to find more flexible and compelling ways to monetize their services.”

“Adobe Primetime OTT makes it possible, from the moment a viewer logs into a streaming video experience, for the experience to travel with them across devices and be fully customized to key aspects of a viewer’s identity, including age, gender, location, interests, viewing history and more,” said Patrick Salyer, Gigya’s CEO. “Understanding customer identity is crucial to delivering personalized over-the-top customer experiences, and we’re excited to be partnering with Adobe on Primetime OTT.”

For more information about Adobe Primetime OTT, enabled by Adobe Marketing Cloud, read the official announcement.

Surfacing the Right Videos for Each Viewer with Adobe Primetime Recommendations

Every provider of a multiscreen TV experience shares a common challenge, which is to highlight the videos that are the most likely to appeal to each user. Today, we’re introducing Adobe Primetime Recommendations, enabled by Adobe Target, to address this challenge. Adobe Primetime Recommendations allows customers of our multiscreen TV platform to use machine learning to intelligently surface data-driven, personalized video recommendations that play back instantly. This is just one of many ways that Adobe is using machine learning to amplify human intelligence.

Adobe Primetime Recommendations helps our customers increase viewer engagement with their sites, apps, and digital marketing content through:

  • Better Data and Leading Algorithms – Adobe Primetime Recommendations uses a massive data repository and multiple industry-leading personalization algorithms from Adobe Target to make the best, most relevant video recommendations for each user.
  • Continuous Optimization – Adobe Primetime Recommendations helps customers identify the best algorithms to make video recommendations and the best layouts to display video recommendations through the use of A/B and multivariate testing.
  • Instant Playback – Adobe Primetime Recommendations provides an instant playback experience by telling Adobe Primetime TVSDK which recommended videos to preload with Instant on.

We’re excited to see how these advantages of better data, leading algorithms, continuous optimization, and instant playback help our customers produce the next generation of TV recommendations.

Adobe Primetime Wins Cablefax Tech Award

Today, Adobe Primetime was honored with a Cablefax Tech Award in the “TV Everywhere/Authentication System” category. Cablefax’s Tech Awards “salute the forward thinking tech gurus who continue to revolutionize cable technology with their amazing products, campaigns and partnerships.” Thank you to the Cablefax judges for validating our work helping broadcasters, cable networks and service providers create, deliver and monetize engaging and personalized TV experiences across screens. And congrats to all the other industry players who were recognized for their innovative work helping move the industry forward.

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2016 is shaping up to be a big year for Adobe Primetime and the industry at large. We have some exciting news along with customer and partner momentum coming at Adobe Summit (March 21-24) and The NAB Show (April 16-21) so stay tuned and hope to see you there. Speaking of NAB, our Primetime VP Jeremy Helfand will be speaking at NAB’s Online Video Conference on a TV Everywhere panel focused on meeting the multiscreen challenge. Stop by and check it out on Tuesday, April 19 at 3:45 p.m.

Adobe Report: TV Connected Devices Surpass iOS Share of TV Everywhere Authentications

Every quarter, we report on highlights from the Adobe Digital Index’s Digital Video Benchmark Report. The latest Q4 2015 report released today also highlights trends around TV Everywhere adoption throughout 2015. Two trends were especially consistent. First, TV Everywhere continued to grow. Second, so did home-based viewing from TV connected devices like Apple TV and Roku.

TV Everywhere reached an all-time high of 17.4% of pay-TV subscribers in Q4 2015

By the end of 2015, TV Everywhere adoption was up 36% year-over-year (YoY) to reach 17.4% of pay-TV subscribers.

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TV connected devices drove 21% of TV Everywhere authentications in Q4 2015

Authentications on TV connected devices reached 21% share in Q4 2015, up 5 percentage points from 16% in Q4 2014. The gain in share for authentications on TV connected devices were offset by a loss in share for authentications on iOS devices. However, iOS still has the highest share of authentications at 36%.

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Get more TV Everywhere insights in the full report

To explore more TV Everywhere trends, check out Adobe Digital Index’s 2015 Digital Video Benchmark Report. As one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind, the report examined 134 billion total online video starts, 3.6 billion TV Everywhere authentications and 300+ different sites and apps acting as TV Everywhere access points. Aside from the key trends highlighted here, it covers a doubling of authenticated video viewing, the YoY growth in authenticated video viewing by genre, and the growth in viewing frequency by device type. It also shares the specific device types that drove the most authentications in Q4 2015, including how Apple TV’s share of TV Everywhere authentications doubled YoY, while iOS share dipped 18% YoY.

Major Dynamic Ad Insertion Advancements in MPEG-DASH

Today at Mobile World Congress, we announced how recent enhancements to Adobe Primetime will enable dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in MPEG-DASH streams using the same workflows and business rules that they’ve used to insert ads into HLS streams. The end result is a high-quality, stitched stream of ads and content that can reach viewers across the wide range of devices and browsers that support MPEG-DASH — including all HTML5-compliant browsers.

For consumers, this means they can access more high-quality content (including HD and 4K) with lower data and bandwidth usage, and media companies can deliver it with lower content delivery network (CDN) costs. Adobe Primetime is the only DAI technology available in both client- and server-side configurations, allowing for maximum reach and deployment flexibility.

We’ve made DAI in MPEG-DASH almost exactly the same as using HLS, with some significant advancements. Here’s a summary of Adobe Primetime’s use of MPEG-DASH and HLS for ad insertion:

  • Creative Repackaging Service Our creative repackaging works for MPEG-DASH just like it works for HLS. It takes all the same input formats and transcodes them to MPEG-DASH for smooth transitions between content and ads.
    • Compliance with Ad Insertion Rules – Adobe Primetime follows the same rules that a customer has for inserting ads into MPEG-DASH streams as it does for inserting ads into HLS streams. This includes honoring trick play settings, seek settings, and ad forgiveness settings, which specify the timeframes around which viewers should not be exposed to ads.
  • Response to Ad Cues – MPEG-DASH has a unique method of specifying ad cues, which Adobe Primetime supports. The method is different from HLS because it requires parsing out custom ad cues from a manifest. Adobe Primetime manages that complexity.

Getting started with DAI in MPEG-DASH streams

Adobe Primetime is excited to help customers effectively monetize their programming by combining the power of the open MPEG-DASH standard with Adobe Primetime’s advanced ad insertion capabilities. For example, M6 (the largest broadcaster in France), is leveraging these capabilities to help stream this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship across screens. Please contact the Adobe Primetime team to get started with DAI into MPEG-DASH streams.

Adobe Primetime & HTML5 for OTT Television and Film

As we announced at IBC this past September, Adobe Primetime supports the deployment of live, linear and on-demand OTT experiences to HTML5 environments across screens. Our TVSDK for HTML5 applies Adobe’s expertise in video solutions to the open HTML5 standard. It extends reach and monetization of premium video experiences across the mobile web, including to mobile web browsers on iOS and Android devices. This enables engaging video experiences on mobile devices without forcing viewers into apps. In turn, this allows mobile publishers to deliver more of what people want on the mobile web and increase the amount of time viewers spend on their mobile websites. TVSDK for HTML5 also works with HTML5-compliant desktop browsers and over-the-top (OTT) devices.

There are several advantages to leveraging Adobe’s support for HTML5. First, TVSDK for HTML5 supports all the same streamlined workflows that are part of Adobe Primetime. Second, Adobe Primetime customers still get TVSDK 2.0, with our latest enhancements to the TVSDK, as a fallback solution where HTML5 is not supported and TVSDK 2.0 is supported.

By leveraging TVSDK 2.0 and TVSDK for HTML5, Adobe Primetime customers can achieve the greatest possible reach across screens available anywhere.

Delivering OTT TV and Film Experiences with TVSDK for HTML5

TVSDK for HTML5 controls access to premium video content by invoking the digital rights management (DRM) of the browser or platform that the consumer is using. For Mozilla Firefox version 38 and up, this means invoking the Adobe Primetime Content Decryption Module (CDM), which is an implementation of the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification, and can be used in conjunction with the Media Source Extensions (MSE) specification. For other browsers and platforms, TVSDK for HTML5 invokes whichever CDM is available to playback encrypted media, whether that is Google’s Widevine in Chrome, Microsoft PlayReady in Internet Explorer or Edge, or Apple’s FairPlay Streaming in Safari.

Browser support for the playback of protected video content in an HTML5 environment is at an all time high. According to December 2015 data from netmarketshare.com, 68% of monthly active desktop browsers already support HTML5 through EME and MSE implementations. However, this still means that 32% of desktop browsers can’t play protected video content in an HTML5 environment. So, it’s crucial to have the desktop fallback solution that’s provided by TVSDK 2.0.

Deploying to more screens in the future

In the future, HTML5 through EME and MSE will open up new possibilities for operators and programmers to get on even more screens. It provides a generic specification for browser manufacturers to build APIs that allow premium video experiences to be delivered in their browsers. Most consumer electronics manufacturers, traditional browser manufacturers, and content creators are now working towards HTML5 through EME and MSE as a standard means of delivery. For instance, both Chromecast and late model Samsung TVs use HTML5 through EME and MSE. Stay tuned as Adobe Primetime certifies these devices and others like them.