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How the combination of Broadpeak’s multicast ABR and Content Personnalisation technologies are dramatically improving ad insertion in the video streaming world!

May 30, 2022

Broadpeak’s award-winning ad insertion solution combines two of its technologies, BkYou™ server-side dynamic ad insertion and nanoCDN™ Multicast ABR for the first time, simplifying the delivery of targeted advertisements on all devices and in all content.

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In other words, with this solution, operators can deliver targeted advertisements on all devices and in all content, including during popular live events on the main screen, where it matters the most economically.

Advertising has always been a key element of monetization for television, and its evolution toward more personalization is considered by many as an absolute must in order to compete with what the web, for example, can provide in terms of targeting, real-time reports, and programmatic offerings. This would prevent advertising revenue from shifting toward other means of distribution while also increasing the value of each placement, as a targeted ad cost per mille (CPM) is typically three to five times higher than a regular broadcast ad.

Up to now, operators only had two options, each of them with a critical limitation. The first option was to implement DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion) on an aging broadcast-based system. But these solutions rely on technologies that are no longer evolving, implying long and costly customizations, high complexity and difficult maintenance. The second option was to implement DAI on their ABR system. But, in many cases, plain ABR streaming is considered too challenging in terms of scalability and quality to distribute high-value live events, and the DAI system ends up serving only mobile devices or on-demand content, but not the main screen where the real value is.

How does Broadpeak’s ad insertion technology work?

Broadpeak announced in April 2020 its new ad insertion solution that combines the company’s BkYou™ manifest manipulator and nanoCDN™ software agent to enable dynamic ad insertion (DAI) distributed via multicast ABR (mABR). Broadpeak’s ad insertion solution for the main screen relies on:

  • BkYou is placed in the operator’s network. BkYou™ acts not only as a manifest manipulator but also pilots the mABR transcaster and manages the delivery of ads via multicast streams, much more efficiently than traditional one-to-one unicast connections. It is fully compliant with ABR standards, following the server-side ad insertion model (SSAI), and is compatible with all first-class ad decision servers.
  • nanoCDN is a software agent placed directly in the home network of each consumer, typically in the home gateway. After receiving ad streams through multicast or unicast, it then serves as a personalized ad server placed directly next to the consumer. nanoCDN™ fully follows ABR standards, making it universally compliant with any type of streaming device or player.

how Ad Insertion works

Broadpeak Ad insertion solution – High level

Technically, nanoCDN™ requests personalized manifests on behalf of the client and takes care of retrieving the individualized ad segments referenced in that manifest in an optimized way, guaranteeing the best quality of experience for the user with a minimum amount of resources used on the network.

The retrieval of these ad segments relies on one of three different methods: the segments are embedded in a multicast that can seamlessly swap the main program, or they are downloaded shortly in advance and the agent manages the allocated storage (usually RAM), or, if neither of the previous methods is available for particular ad segments, they are simply streamed in HTTP.

What makes Broadpeak’s solution unique?

What’s especially unique about this solution is that it enables network service providers to implement DAI on their linear TV offering in a much simpler and future-oriented way than other alternatives on the market.

Broadpeak’s solution resolves both limitations, from DAI implementation on an aging broadcast-based system or on their ABR system, by bringing together the efficiency of mABR for linear distribution with the level of personalization that ABR natively enables, thus at last offering a viable opportunity to implement targeted ads on the main screen, where it matters most economically. More generally, it helps preserve and even improve advertising monetization for television.

Additionally, the solution optimizes a new business opportunity for operators, which is the ability to insert pre-roll or mid-roll ads on delinearized content (i.e., VOD, catch-up, nPVR). Most recurring ad spots can be pre-provisioned through multicast, dramatically reducing the load on the network and providing more of a guarantee on their actual availability, when requested.

Unlike other DAI solutions for the main screen, the combination of BkYou™ and nanoCDN™ relies entirely on modern ABR technology It is on an open ecosystem where, similar to the web, principles such as ad personalization, real-time reports and programmatic are already mature and widely available. It ensures that the solution will be able to follow the numerous evolutions expected in dynamic advertising for the coming years, and that the operator will not be locked into one particular vendor or proprietary technology. Relying on an mABR distribution, the solution takes full advantage of ABR dynamicity while preserving the quality and security of operations required for linear channels and live events, in particular.

Broadpeak’s ad insertion solution is based on a server-side approach that, compared with typical client-side implementations in set-top boxes, offers an operational advantage in terms of quality during transitions between network programs and ad breaks as well as for more efficiently concealing ad spots from potential ad blockers.

The solution is fully based on standards and can support:

  • Any device: Broadpeak’s ad insertion solution supports bespoke set-top boxes, mobile devices as well as alternative streaming devices using the main screen, such as Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV.
  • Any player: the nanoCDN™ MABR agent acts as an abstraction layer, which manages the entire ad insertion process and hides its complexity to the clients. Seen from the client, streams containing targeted ads look like any other ABR stream.
  • Any existing ABR origin servers: The BkYou manifest manipulator retrieves the master manifests, and the nanoCDN multicast server gets the video feeds using standard HLS and DASH protocols.
  • Any existing ad insertion system: BkYou relies on common standards such as SCTE-35 and VAST to exchange with third-party processes.
  • Any multicast infrastructure: nanoCDN mABR does not have any particular requirement at the network level and a traditional IPTV distribution can, for example, be reused as-is.

Since it leverages existing components, the implementation of Broadpeak’s solution is not disruptive to the overall architecture and is very cost-efficient.

Finally, the solution takes advantage of Broadpeak’s extensive experience in successful commercial deployments of mABR and ad insertion. The solution offers an extended feature set, including ultra-low latency delivery, packet loss recovery, robustness against ad decision failure, anti-ad skipping mechanisms and an impressions report system, providing operators with everything they need to successfully deliver targeted ads and boost monetization.