After several months of service beta-tests, we were more than happy to announce the general availability of the Dynamic Ad Insertion service of broadpeak.io during IBC. On this blog post, we are summarizing what makes this application so special.

The service will help you automatically insert advertisements in your ABR streams. If you’ve got headaches in the past with configuring dynamic ads in your feeds, you should know that broadpeak.io’s Dynamic Ad Insertion as a Service will be a better painkiller than Aspirin.

  • Why do we release this?

Broadpeak has been in the SSAI market for many years with its product BkYou™, so we know well how complicated and convoluted the world of advertising is in the streaming space.

It is easy to face integration issues between the different components: a CDN hard to configure, a player not behaving well during insertions, and a good understanding of your ad servers’ VAST messages….

Briefly, we were looking to streamline SSAI integration and accelerate monetizing our customers’ content. broadpeak.io is our answer to the industry and our solution to make DAI more accessible to everyone.

  • What is it?

Our service is a manifest manipulation service for ad insertion. We will oversee inserting/replacing the ads directly in the manifest files you use daily in HLS and DASH to deliver great videos to your viewers.

  • How does it integrate into your ecosystem?

Our technology is fully pre-integrated with all primary ad servers using VAST/VMAP standards, so you do not have to think about any system integration work.

Below is a diagram of how broadpeak.io interacts with other modules from the eco-system:

  • What are the benefits?
    • For you:
      • It is a simple and effortless way to monetize your content without passing months of integration of the different components of your ecosystem.
      • You will have complete control and be able to observe by yourself the efficiency of your platform. Tracking the number of impressions and the quality of your streams will never be more straightforward.
      • Not convinced that DAI is for you, but still interested in taking a shot anyway? Quickly test it within minutes with Broadpeak.io and do a quick demo on short notice to your board.
    • For your viewers:
      • Getting interrupted by advertisements is never an enjoyable experience, but it will be a bit more pleasant with broadpeak.io for two main reasons:
        • We will target the end-users so we will deliver more relevant ads for the viewers based on Ad Servers’ feedback.
        • We will ensure no impact on the stream, so the experience stays at the top when moving from original content to the ads.
    • In general:
      • By being a one-stop shop for anything HLS&DASH Manifest Manipulation, broadpeak.io is the answer to tackle the need to replace/insert alternative feeds on any video source automatically. Whether it is an ad to replace or a content to blackout, our service is the place to delegate complex workflows related to contextualization.
  • How is broadpeak.io’s DAI different?
    • Simplicity: broadpeak.io lets you configure DAI with three steps only in the service creation tunnel. Not four, not five, not ten, three! We want to make it as simple as possible so you can focus on what is important: getting advertisers interested in working with you.
    • Transparent: because we make a big deal about observability in our team, we focused on publicly sharing data, logs, and reports during the design of the service. Our enterprise customers have exclusive access to analytics and monitoring dashboards which give them detailed feedback on what is happening on the platform. This helps for troubleshooting too!
    • Agnostic: we designed broadpeak.io as an overlay layer on any video ecosystem. Consequently, it does not matter what kind of packager, CDN, or ad server you are using: it will fit with us! And you can change along the way.
  • What features are available?

Here you have a non-exhaustive list of what broadpeak.io proposes natively:

  • Support of SCTE35 markers: used massively to announce the availability of the ads in-band, SCTE35 tags are, of course, supported by broadpeak.io too.
  • On-the-fly Ad transcoding: ensuring the streams are not interrupted during the insertion of new ads is our priority number 1. We know some video players are susceptible to switching between different stream content. To limit issues, we propose the automatic transcoding of the ads, using the characteristics of the source (same codec, bitrates, etc..…). Moreover, in the case of programmatic ad sales, it is typical to know at the last minute which ad needs to be used. Because of that, our transcoding capacity is working on-the-fly, so you do not have to wait to impress the ad very quickly.
  • Audio normalization: Loudness control is one of the essential things to ensure the viewers’ valuable experience. Ads tend to be louder than original feeds. With broadpeak.io, you can provide a smooth and enjoyable sound along the way.
  • Robustness against ad server failure: The ad decision server could have issues – in that case, a timeout on our side permits us to protect video delivery by delivering the original manifest if there is no answer.
  • Robustness against ad server inaccuracy: an Ad decision server could return ads with a duration shorter than the one requested for the pod. In this case, Broadpeak.io can add a slate to ensure alignment on ad break boundary end. The gap filler feature also enables publishers to easily perform branding with slate or promo content.
  • Ad allowed flag: This permits to specify that ad insertion on a request is not allowed. You may think it’s pointless, but it will enable you to have VOD content, channel, or specific user without any ads. It can also protect the ad decision server and reduce its load.
  • Multi ad server configuration is possible.
  • Creative fallback: if the ads we are supposed to deliver are not available, we can use backup ads if specified in the VAST response to maximize the number of impressions.
  • Ad tracking:  on top of Server-Side Ad Tracking, the solution comes with an optional SDK (SmartLib) which can be used on any player to provide client-side metrics and to enforce ad skipping policies from ad servers. The SmartLib SDK is IAB certified for Open Measurement reporting.
  • What use cases can be enabled by DAI?
    • Direct sales versus Programmatic campaigns: we do it all!
    • Live pre-roll
      • broadpeak.io can insert ads at the beginning of a Linear Channel playback session before the main content begins. These are pre-roll ads.
    • VOD pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll
      • This is about inserting ads in an on-demand video (or so-called VOD). Please also note that a VOD could also be a Personal Video Recording Asset too (named CPVR or NPVR)
        • Pre-roll: A pre-roll is always played at the start of a VOD.
        • Mid-roll: Throughout a stream, a mid-roll is inserted. Such an advertisement is typically placed during a break or a topic change.
        • Post-roll: They are added after a video.
    • Live ad replacement
      • This use case permits replacing ads with a more valuable advertisement for the end user. It has been used for Live channels.
      • The ads included in the Linear feeds are detected via SCTE 35 markers.
  • How to use DAI?
    • We have created Knowledge Center articles to guide you with simple tutorials – please check here.
  • When is it available and for how much?
    • The application is currently fully available.
    • The pricing is public and transparent (link). You will have to pay for the number of impressions (CPM) at 0.59 $/CPM up to 1M insertions and 0.49 $/CPM above. On top of it, you will be charged for the egress coming out of our platform at 0.15 $/GB.
  • What is next?

We have quite a lot of new features in the backlog already, but here you have a few features that you can expect to be delivered in a close future:

  • Low latency feeds: we want to support HLS-LL and DASH CMAF LL and propose a similar experience on low delay feeds.
  • Insertion of ad breaks out of band: to help our customers who do not have SCTE35 markers, we plan to add them by API calls.
  • Detection automatics of ads: related to the feature above, we plan to use internal ML/AI capability to detect ad slots in the linear channels.

Do you need something else? We want to make sure to cover all your needs, so please give us suggestions on how we can help you even more!

To conclude, we were overly excited to finally launch our much-expected DAI service and it did not disappoint. The first weeks have been super promising. We look forward to helping more and more customers monetize their content and be part of their success!

Please do not hesitate to share your feedback or contact us with any questions.

Streamingly yours.

The broadpeak.io team

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash