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.

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.

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.