One of the most attractive commercial opportunities with On-Demand TV is the possibility for targeted advertisements. Using the capability to provide a unique video stream to each user, commercial content can be tailored for individual viewers based on different criteria, such as user defined preferences, user behavior, demographics or geographical location.
The Edgeware on-demand server platform is the perfect system for providing personalized ads. It can be used to insert ads into regular VOD content, as well as replace ads in time shifted TV content. Because of the efficiency of the Edgeware server platform, it is possible to offer these features at a completely new price level, making ad insertion commercially viable in many more cases than have been possible so far.
When a user selects a movie or a TV program he/she will actually request a logical asset. This logical asset is translated into physical asset requests by an ad management system on a per session basis. This translation is done by creating a playlist of clips representing the logical asset requested. The playlist combines several pre-stored clips into one. From the user perspective it will look like a single asset, i.e. the transitions between clips will not be noticeable and trick play will work seamlessly over all clips. A basic playlist could for example consist of an ad, followed by a trailer, then the movie and finally another ad.
In a basic playlist, each clip corresponds to a physical file, i.e. a playlist is a concatenation of files. It is also possible to create advanced playlists, where a clip corresponds to a section of a file. This then allows for insertion of ads, or any other content, anywhere within a file, such as in the middle of a movie. This feature can also be used to replace ads in time shifted TV content, either to provide personalized ads or to replace outdated ads. This is a unique feature of the Edgeware servers. The Edgeware video servers support two mechanisms to define playlists, client side and server side. When using client side setup, the playlist is defined from the RTSP client using proprietary extensions. For server side setup, the Edgeware servers provide interfaces into standard ad management systems to define the playlist associated with a specific client request. If ads are used as part of the business model to cover some or all of the costs for viewing a movie, it is important that the users will actually watch the ads. With the Edgeware servers it is therefore possible to disable trick play capabilities on a per clip basis.
For successful operation of a complete ad insertion system, the ad insertion server must be combined with an ad management system that decides which ads that should be presented to each user. Edgeware is currently working with major ad management system vendors to make sure that the Edgeware servers integrate smoothly into these environments. Edgeware is supporting current and emerging standards, such as SCTE 30/35 and SCTE 130. For more information on Edgeware’s own Origin playlist management system please click here.