Alain Pellen

By: Alain Pellen on August 15th, 2019

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Why Manifest Manipulation & the Cloud Are Crucial to Targeted Advertising

Dynamic advertising insertion (DAI) is the path to optimising advertising market share and CPM rates. Here’s why: Today, there’s growing consumer demand for personalised content. By delivering targeted ads, video providers can offer viewers more relevant content and enable advertisers to more effectively sell their product.

To address the demand for targeted advertising, video providers need media processing platforms that are scalable and flexible. Let’s look at the benefits of cloud-based media processing for DAI to understand why finding a system that supports manifest manipulation is critical to success.

  1. Substitute segments dynamically

With adaptive bitrate streaming, encoded content is delivered in different resolutions, bitrates and codecs using bite-sized delivery segments that include video, audio and other data, such as subtitles and timed metadata. These segments are referenced in the manifest, or playlist, used by the OTT player to access server resources.

In the video streaming world, SCTE-35 is a format-agnostic standard to signal an ad break. That ad break is your opportunity to insert a targeted ad within the incoming video stream. Thanks to SCTE-35, segment boundaries can be aligned exactly with the ad insertion points. Ad insertion is achieved by substituting delivery segments. Having a cloud-based server-side DAI solution will give you the most flexibility, allowing you to dynamically substitute ads within live, linear, catch-up TV and recorded content.

  1. Sneak by ad blockers

By inserting advertising at the server level (also known as SSAI), advertising and content can be stitched together in the same stream prior to delivery. This helps you counteract ad blocking software, which is often installed on viewing devices. How? SSAI makes advertisements and content look the same to ad blocking software, making it difficult to detect ads. SSAI also guarantees a seamless transition and the same quality of experience for content and ads.

  1. Create custom manifests

Besides enabling parallel workflows that are scalable, a cloud-centric DAI solution with manifest manipulation allows you to create custom manifests per content, user and device, in real time. You can support multiple targeting scenarios and deliver unique playlists containing hyper-targeted ads to smartphones, PCs, tablets and connected TVs, and any other device.

You can stretch the use cases for manifest manipulation beyond DAI to include blackout management and video content replacement. Using a cloud-based approach, your entire workflow becomes simpler. Content ABR transcoding, ad transcoding, packaging, manifest generation and manipulation all work together in an end-to-end seamless architecture, eliminating any deployment headaches. 

In Conclusion

DAI is a great way to monetize OTT multiscreen services. By deploying a cloud-based DAI solution, such as Harmonic’s VOS®360 DAI with manifest manipulation capabilities, operators can easily substitute segments dynamically, override ad blockers and create custom manifests.