Now Previewing Deloitte’s OTT Engagement Platform Integrated with Adobe Marketing Cloud at CES

Adobe and Deloitte Digital have teamed up at CES to preview Deloitte’s new, over-the-top (OTT) engagement platform, MarketMix for Media. With Deloitte’s managed services, MarketMix for Media helps media companies plan and launch OTT video services quickly, cost-effectively, and at scale. It includes pre-built integrations between Adobe Primetime, Adobe Marketing Cloud and other industry-leading solutions.

We’ve written before about the quickening pace of direct-to-consumer launches. Now through MarketMix for Media, we’re excited to be part of an end-to-end solution designed to ease the difficulty of joining the D2C trend.

Why MarketMix for Media?

The TV market has shifted. The growing adoption of OTT services among consumers has created an opportunity for media companies to develop a direct relationship with their audience instead of relying on distributors. This often involves a complete digital transformation that includes running new business operations, deploying new technology, and managing new engagement models.

In the MarketMix for Media demo at CES, Adobe and Deloitte will show you a fully operational direct-to-consumer video solution inclusive of identity management, CRM, e-commerce and experience management using best-in-class technology that can help M&E companies embrace change and participate in the direct-to-consumer OTT opportunity.

MarketMix for Media from Deloitte Digital on Vimeo.

Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions included in the demo

The MarketMix for Media preview will include a demonstration of how Adobe Marketing Cloud connects with Adobe Primetime to deliver and manage experiences across multiple devices. Participants will learn:

  1. How to play back video securely across devices and monetize OTT TV with advertising, electronic sell-through (EST), and subscriptions with with Adobe Primetime.
  2. How Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is used for video experience management and app management.
  3. How track, report and feed data into segments with Adobe Analytics, which can then be used to power personalized experiences in Adobe Experience Manager.

Invitation to a private demo

If you’re already at CES, we invite you to visit the Adobe demo suite and schedule a 20-minute private demo or register here for a demo time.

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Update on HTML5 Premium Video Playback with Adobe Encrypted Media Extensions Support in Firefox

The Adobe Primetime Content Decryption Module (CDM) went live today in Firefox 43 for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. This extension provides support for the Encrypted Media and Media Source extensions available in HTML5 – allowing premium video to be played back without requiring the Flash plugin.

Enabling HTML5 premium video playback is the product of a close collaboration with Mozilla and Netflix over the last 18 months. We will continue to work with Mozilla to provide equivalent support for additional platforms (e.g. Mac and Linux) over the coming months. Our first major customer leveraging this capability is Netflix, and we expect more in the coming months as video providers continue to deliver immersive viewing experiences via HTML5. We are excited to bring the Adobe Primetime CDM to Firefox, as well as other platforms in the future.

All-Time High TV Everywhere Consumption Demonstrates User Satisfaction; Opportunity Remains to Broaden Footprint

Each quarter, the Digital Video Benchmark report by Adobe Digital Index highlights the changes taking place in how consumers view video. The biggest highlight of the Q3 2015 report is the rapid growth of TV Everywhere viewing on connected TV devices like Apple TV and Roku. Our data shows that television is moving back into the living room with more content becoming available via connected TV devices. The data also shows that once viewers find TV Everywhere content, they consume an ever-increasing amount of it. However, to maximize the potential of TV Everywhere and ensure new user adoption accelerates, the industry has to do more around awareness, discoverability and ease of use. Here are some key findings from the report:

TV is returning to the living room

23% of all TV Everywhere authentications now take place on a connected TV device, representing 130% YoY growth. Of this 23%, 13% is from Apple TV and 7% is from Roku, which leaves a mere 3% of TV Everywhere authentications to all other TV connected devices such as gaming consoles, the Amazon Fire TV and Smart TVs. Movie viewership in particular is driving this trend. Movie viewers are twice as likely to watch programming on a TV connected device than any other device.

 

1 - ShareOfTVEverywhereAuthenticationsByAccessTypeYOY

TV Everywhere shows stickiness with users

Consumption from existing TV Everywhere users jumped by 102% YoY while new user adoption inched up, growing by just 8% over the last 12 months. So, the viewers who do consume TV Everywhere content have nearly doubled their consumption.

2 - TVEverywhereAuthenticatedVideoViewingGrowth

3 - TVEverywhereShareOfActiveMonthlyPayTVViewers

Youth programming and movies boost stickiness

Much of the growth in TV Everywhere content consumption is coming from teens and toons programming for youth and movies. Teens and toons is the most frequently viewed content genre and it grew 46% QoQ. It’s viewed the most frequently on Android devices. Movies is the fastest growing content genre with 127% growth QoQ. Movies are heavily viewed from TV connected devices where the bigger screen improves the viewing experience.

4 - IndexedAverageTVEverywhereViewingFrequencyByAccessTypeAndGenreQ3MonthlyAverageAuthenticatedVideosVisitor (1)

Smartphones replaced tablets as the preferred mobile viewing device 

Viewing non-authenticated online video on smartphones increased by 33% YoY while tablet viewing declined 7%, which can be attributed to slowing tablet sales and smartphones with larger screen sizes. Although nearly half of all web browsing occurs on a smartphone or tablet, only 31% percent of videos were viewed on a mobile device.

5 - GlobalDeviceTypeShareOfOnlineVideoStarts

About the Q3 2015 Digital Video Benchmark report

The analysis in the benchmark report is based on aggregated and anonymous data from over 1,500 media and entertainment sites between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015. It measured 134 billion online video views and 3.6 billion TV Everywhere authentications across pay-TV service providers covering 99 percent of pay-TV households in the U.S and Canada. Adobe also analyzes TV Everywhere content from 159 TV channels and over 300 TV Everywhere sites and apps – more than any other technology company in the industry.

For more insights, download the full Q3 2015 Digital Video Benchmark report.

Quickening Pace of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Launches

The industry is abuzz about direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming video services, which give consumers programming choices that fall outside of traditional pay-TV packages.

Early entrants to the D2C streaming video market, such as MLB.tv and Netflix, have proven it’s possible to attract a large audience with a D2C offering. For example, Netflix has over 66 million paid members around the world and MLB.tv has 3.5 million paid subscribers. Now, the question is whether or not others will follow in their footsteps and also go direct to consumer.

Two views on the future of D2C

D2C is heading in one of two directions. Consumers could favor centralized access to streaming video content. This consumer preference could make it difficult for niche streaming video providers to secure the subscribers they need to sustain their offerings. It would allow players like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video and MVPD apps to capture the bulk of time and budgets that consumers are willing to spend on streaming video.

On the other hand, consumers could embrace the ability to curate their own collection of content. It’s cumbersome to manage today, but search and discovery innovations could easily improve the curated experience in the near future. With this, any streaming video provider with a loyal audience could thrive going D2C.

2015 was a big year for D2C launches

Whatever the future of D2C holds, one thing is for certain. There’s a quickening pace of new D2C launches. Together, 2014 and 2015 had eighteen major launches. This is more than all prior years combined. And even more D2C streaming video services are set to launch in 2016. AMC Networks is in beta with a horror-themed offering called Shudder and Bell Media’s CraveTV plans to go direct to consumer on January 1st.

Sources: Launch dates announced in industry press. Data compiled November 2015.

Programmers future-proofing their business

The main impetus for going D2C is to find another path to viewers who are watching less traditional TV. A MarketingCharts.com analysis of Nielsen data reports, “Between 2011 and Q2 2015, TV viewing by 18-24-year-olds dropped by almost 8 hours per week, or by more than an hour a day. Tellingly, the largest decline (in absolute time) occurred within the past year, between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015.”

Source: MarketingCharts.com analysis of Nielsen data

Over-the-top (OTT) devices make going D2C easy

Another impetus for going D2C is the ease and range of options for getting premium streaming video content onto TVs. D2C streaming video services can provide a viewing experience that’s as good or better than traditional TV by going over-the-top (OTT) to TV screens via set-top like Apple TV and Roku, streaming media sticks like Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick, and gaming platforms like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Who else will go D2C?

Existing entrants in the D2C space have proved that OTT can be leveraged at the same time as traditional TV distribution deals and that it can grow the pie of viewers beyond what traditional TV can reach. However, subscriber acquisition can be difficult and nobody wants to launch a service that can’t gain traction. Expect ad technology and marketing automation partners to ease this difficulty for new and existing D2C players.

Solving the OTT Monetization Challenge with Adobe Primetime TV Media Management (TVMM)

Today, we’re excited to announce the addition of TV Media Management (TVMM) to the Adobe Primetime platform. Launched in partnership with Videology, the leader in converged TV and video advertising, TVMM solves a major challenge for providers of over-the-top television: maximizing revenue from OTT distribution across screens.

OTT inventory is typically undervalued and unmonetized — a missed opportunity as viewers increasingly supplement or even replace traditional linear TV with live and on-demand viewing across multiple devices and platforms. TVMM reverses under-monetization by empowering OTT providers to leverage data in order to optimally plan, forecast and package OTT inventory. This produces higher CPMs and more revenue.

To learn more about TVMM, watch my interview with Beet.TV. I discuss how TVMM is the industry’s first ad sales platform to be built specifically to meet the needs of OTT providers.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 4.24.56 PM

Adobe Primetime’s Commitment to HTML5

Adobe Primetime has emerged as the leading global multiscreen over-the-top (OTT) platform, powering content delivery, monetization and personalization for live, linear and on-demand TV experiences. Since launching in 2013, Primetime has been adopted by major media companies worldwide, including Channel 5, Comcast, HBO, M6, NBC Sports, RTL Group, Showtime, Sony Crackle, Starz Arabia, Time Warner Cable, and Turner Broadcasting, and helped power major events such as the Sochi Winter Olympics for NBC Sports.

Our customer commitment to providing the highest quality, most reliable content viewing experience across platforms is paramount, which is why Adobe is further advancing its support for HTML5. As a platform-agnostic solution, Primetime supports HTML5 content delivery across desktops, mobile web browsers (iOS, Android) and connected devices for secure, protected playback – extending both reach and monetization capabilities.

Adobe Primetime & HTML5 for OTT Television and Film

As we announced at IBC in 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.

TVSDK for HTML5 is a software development kit for Primetime customers that want to deploy premium video experiences to HTML5 environments across screens. With TVSDK for HTML5, Adobe has applied its video solutions expertise to the open HTML5 standard, which enables engaging video experiences on mobile devices. In turn, top media companies can deliver more of what people want on the mobile web and increase the viewer’s time spent on their mobile websites. TVSDK for HTML5 also works with HTML5-compliant desktop browsers and OTT devices to offer complementary viewing experiences.

There are several advantages to leveraging Adobe’s support for HTML5:

  1. Workflow efficiency – TVSDK for HTML5 supports all the same great workflows that are part of Adobe Primetime.
  2. Most extensive reach – Primetime customers still get TVSDK 2.0 as a fallback solution where HTML5 is not supported. By leveraging TVSDK 2.0 and TVSDK for HTML5, Primetime customers can achieve the greatest possible reach across screens available anywhere.

Adobe Primetime is maximizing the potential reach of video distribution. Currently, 51% of active mobile/tablet browsers and 52.5% of active desktop browsers in use today support premium video via HTML5 (Source: NetMarketShare, Oct. 2015). Primetime’s HTML5 support in conjunction with other standards covers almost all active mobile/tablet and desktop browsers.

Adobe Primetime & Flash Player Support

The Adobe Primetime TVSDK is built on a multithreaded premium video engine integrated with Adobe Flash Player, with native support for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and full GPU support for hardware decoding and rendering. The Flash failover for TVSDK for HTML5 leverages this same engine that is only available to Primetime customers and partners.

HLS support built by third-parties on Adobe Flash Player’s NetStream API needs to be developed in ActionScript (AS) and is limited to a single-threaded AS execution environment, which is shared by the app’s display rendering and AS Virtual Machine. This can result in performance limitations, specifically with higher bit-rate and higher resolution premium video content.

However, the Adobe Primetime TVSDK stack runs natively, leveraging a multithreaded architecture that is optimized for each desktop platform’s hardware acceleration capabilities, which enables higher quality video playback and accelerated performance. It is also the same cross-platform stack that is available on other TVSDK-supported mobile and OTT platforms, providing the same consistent set of features, behaviors and APIs for ease of development.

TVSDK for HTML5 Supports Two Main Use Cases

There are two main ways that Adobe Primetime customers can use TVSDK for HTML5. Some media companies may use it to deliver protected streams with full encryption and content protection, while others may use it to deliver unencrypted HLS or Advanced Encryption Standard (AES128) streams.

  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) Protected Streaming – The Primetime TVSDK for HTML5 allows for protected streaming with support for the native content protection stacks on each browser:
    • Access on Firefox,
    • PlayReady on Internet Explorer/Edge
    • Widevine on Chrome
    • FairPlay on Safari

The TVSDK for HTML5 will load in the correct Content Decryption Module (CDM) based on the target browser, and request the correct stream; HLS streams for Safari and MPEG DASH streams for Firefox, Internet Explorer/Edge, and Chrome. The TVSDK 2.0 can then be used as a fallback solution for browsers that don’t support HTML5 Media Source Extensions (MSE)/Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), including older versions of Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer/Edge and Safari on the desktop.

  • Non-DRM protected streaming – The Primetime TVSDK for HTML5 also allows for the playback of AES128 or unencrypted HLS streams across all MSE-enabled browsers. Just like in the protected streaming case, TVSDK can be used as a fallback solution for browsers that don’t support MSE.

Regardless of whether you are using the TVSDK for HTML5 to deliver protected or unprotected streams, both delivery mechanisms are supported across both desktop and mobile web browsers and support the same great features of the existing TVSDK.

Adobe Primetime is also excited to support HTML5 through Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and bring the advantage of greater reach for protected video content to our customers.

Adobe Primetime uses a CDM to deliver protected video content to all EME-capable, HTML5-compliant browsers. For the remaining mobile/tablet browsers that aren’t HTML5 MSE-compliant, Primetime can support native deployments. For the remaining desktop browsers, Adobe Primetime defaults to using Adobe Access to play back DRM-protected video.

The industry at large is looking for a consistent way to deliver premium video experiences across all viewing platforms. HTML5 through EME 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 as a standard means of delivery. For instance, both Chromecast and late model Samsung TVs now provide EME-capable, HTML5-compliant browsers.

The Road Ahead

We’re excited for broadcasters, programmers and pay-TV providers to take advantage of the Primetime TVSDK for HTML5 in order to build and deliver premium video experiences across IP-connected screens and ensure content flows consistently across devices. HTML5 is one of the leading open standards across web and mobile platforms, building on the capabilities that Adobe Flash Player originally pioneered. We will continue to maintain the compatibility of existing Flash Player content through Adobe Primetime to support our customers’ needs, while leveraging and advancing HTML5 to bring the same capabilities and coverage. Stay tuned for more updates and Primetime developments around HTML5 in 2016.

Streaming Media Readers Honor Adobe Primetime

Today at Streaming Media West, Adobe Primetime was recognized as a winner of the 2015 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards in five categories:

  • Closed Captioning Solution
  • DRM/Access Control Solution
  • Media & Entertainment Video Platform
  • OTT Platform for MSO and MVPD
  • Reporting & Analytics Platform (with Adobe Analytics)

This award recognizes the best online video technologies based on public voting. According to Streaming Media, “This year’s awards brought in 326 nominations; after weeding out the duplicates and the nominations that weren’t appropriate for their categories, we narrowed the field down to 249 nominees and opened the voting to StreamingMedia.com readers.”

With nearly 36,000 votes cast across 29 categories, we’re honored that Streaming Media’s readers recognized Adobe Primetime for its work with customers and partners in the constantly evolving online video/TV industry. The future of TV is bright and we’re thrilled to be powering content viewing, distribution and monetization across screens for broadcasters, programmers and pay-TV providers. Thank you to the Streaming Media staff for hosting this award. We appreciate the accolade alongside so many other industry players and we have some exciting innovations around Primetime coming in 2016 – so stay tuned!

PrimetimeDRM1

PrimetimeDRM3

PrimetimeDRM2

And congrats to our fellow Adobe Creative Cloud team who was also honored with a Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Adobe Premiere Pro CC in the “Desktop Video Editing Software” category.

Our Commitment to 99.99% Uptime for Adobe Primetime Authentication

Adobe Primetime Authentication (formerly Adobe Pass) is committed to 99.99% uptime. That’s only around 4 minutes of downtime per month or less. Every month this year Primetime Authentication achieved 99.99% uptime or better, except this month. This month, an external factor put our systems to the test. All our preparations paid off. Primetime Authentication will end October with a 99.95% uptime, which is .04% shy of our goal. This post is about how we keep our uptime commitment.

Architecting robust services

Infrastructure breaks. No matter how much care you take, it breaks. There is no question about it. The only question is when. And the really hard question is actually how prepared you are to deal with it when it breaks.
Any type of infrastructure. Things break in the public cloud and in the private cloud. A wide range of factors such as software bugs, hardware defects, or third-party services failures can put any system to the test. So it takes a robust architecture to keep a service up even when infrastructure breaks.

Here is a recent example. Primetime Authentication is architected as a distributed system running in an active-active configuration between the eastern and western United States. It relies on our DNS provider to geo-balance the traffic. If we encounter problems in the east, the traffic is automatically shifted to the west and vice-versa. This is a major factor in our high availability. Our DNS provider is reliable and not expected to fail. And still…

The outage

Last week our DNS provider experienced a major outage that affected multiple states in the eastern United States and impacted several high profile services. That hit us hard. Let’s see how we dealt with it.

Rapid response

Within minutes of the DNS outage, our team was in a virtual incident war-room scrambling to react. It was after midnight in our time zone, but we were online in minutes. This is where all those annoying little things paid off: the fine-tuned uptime monitoring, the automated alerting system, the discipline of 24×7 on-call, and the practiced incident response procedures. They all came together like a well-oiled machine to save valuable time.
Ok, so what’s next? First we thought that something went wrong with our eastern instance. So we brought that down and expected the traffic to shift automatically to our western instance. No time for deep investigation, you need to act quickly to restore the service, that’s the first priority in an incident. But the traffic didn’t shift and critical alerts kept pouring down. By the time we narrowed this to be a DNS issue, we got an email from our provider acknowledging the outage.

A DNS outage is bad. Your service is up, but Internet users cannot reach it because the name cannot be resolved to an actual IP address. Most services are just waiting for the outage to pass and thus restore user access. But we can’t afford that with a 99.99% commitment. So we have a backup DNS system.

The right precaution

Some time ago we migrated from our in-house operated DNS solution to a cloud provider. And we had the precaution of keeping our DNS settings with the in-house system as well in an inactive status. This proved to be the key to our recovery. We re-activated the DNS settings in our in-house system and made that our primary DNS provider. The fact that we kept the “dormant” records there allowed us to enforce aggressive propagation of the new DNS records. The technical details are less trivial than depicted here and involve a pre-defined hierarchy of domains and subdomains that allowed us to control our DNS in this way. The point is that you cannot just adopt a new DNS provider on the spot because this change will take hours to propagate for the first time.
So our precaution of keeping the backup DNS system saved us. We were back online and fully accessible in a short amount of time. It took us more than 4 minutes, for sure. So we failed our 99.99% for the month by a small margin. But we were back before everybody else was and we were one of the very few services to do so.

Continuing to protect Primetime Authentication uptime

In retrospect, this looks like a simple thing. Such things always do, hindsight is 20/20. Of course, another DNS provider, what could be simpler? You would be amazed how few services actually have that at the ready. Most of the affected services just waited in frustration of not being able to react until the DNS provider fixed their outage, 90 minutes later. A DNS outage at this scale doesn’t happen every day, it happens rarely. But when it happens, you can lose invaluable uptime minutes if you are not prepared.

We continue to remain prepared to protect the uptime of Primetime Authentication when the next challenge strikes.

Exciting trends in video monetization and TV connected devices in Q2 2015 Digital Video Benchmark report

The Digital Video Benchmark report by Adobe Digital Index can help you keep up-to-date with the changes taking place in how consumers view video. It covers both online video consumption and TV Everywhere trends. In the Q2 2015 report, we identified three key trends that will be important to Adobe Primetime customers. Here’s a summary of these trends.

  1. Video monetization is on an upward trend; viewers are now watching nearly 3 ads per video view
    Video ads per video view are up 30% over Q2 2014. Monetizing video appears the easiest in reality TV, where viewers see 3.9 ads per video view, and the hardest in comedy, where viewers see 2.1 ads per video view.
    global monthly average ad start per video start
  2. Authenticated TV is moving back to the living room; 21% of TV Everywhere authentications are happening from TV connected devices
    The share of authenticated viewing via a TV connected device rose from 10% in Q2 2014 to 21% in Q2 2015, an increase of 110% year over year (YoY). This, combined with a 21% decline YoY in tablet video viewing suggests that viewers are ditching their tablets in favor of TV connected devices. Kids swapping out iPads for Apple TV and Roku are leading this charge.
    share of TV everywhere users by device type
  3. Viewing frequency is now the highest on TV connected devices
    In Q2 2014, TV connected devices trailed iOS and Android in the average number of authenticated video views per visitor. By Q2 2015, viewing frequency jumped from 7.2 authenticated video views per visitor to 9.7 authenticated video views per visitor. This makes TV connected devices beat out all other access types on viewing frequency. In comparison, iOS has a viewing frequency of 9.2 authenticated video views per visitor, Android has a viewing frequency of 7.9, and the browser has a viewing frequency of 4.8.
    tv everywhere viewing frequency by access type

You can read the full Q2 2015 Digital Video Benchmark by Adobe Digital Index by downloading a free copy here.

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.