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Dynamic adinsertioninhybridcdn sept10
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Dynamic adinsertioninhybridcdn sept10
1. Abstract: Dynamic Ad-insertion in The content traffic is increasing enormously since the recent Hybrid Content Delivery years. Monetization of content traffic in video and audio space is an important need. While on one hand Ad-insertion, Networks management, triple-play services, audience measurement techniques have evolved, on the other hand integration of these tools and technology on a service provider’s infrastructure such as its networks, media platforms, and customer premise equipments is still lagging. Rapid adoption NTSS CSU of content services is driving standardization and mass- acceptance of particular methodologies. This article focuses on how using SMIL, dynamic ads can be inserted to deliver highly contextual user experience. Article also highlights SMIL feature richness, its acceptance, integration with Hybrid CDN and opportunities offered to evolve various business models.Authors:Chitresh Markanda, Principal Consultant, CSU IP Network SolutionsSnehal Sontale, Sr. Software Engineer, CSU IP Network SolutionsDattaprasanna Singbal, Sr. Technical Associate, CSU IP NetworkSolutions © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
Table of ContentsNeed of Content monetization ....................................................... 2Existing Advertising methodologies ............................................... 2Experimentational Dynamic Ad-insertion approaches ................... 4Benefits and applications of SMIL ................................................. 7Conclusion ..................................................................................... 8References .................................................................................... 8 1 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
Need of Content monetizationThe tremendous growth of digital content via content delivery network has brought about theneed for monetization of content traffic. Most of the content services are high on capex forcontent rights acquisition, content delivery infrastructure and experience high content churn.Hence, monetization is important for sustenance of business. Advertising is one of the mostpopular tools for monetization. Ad-funded business models have been in existing in broadcastand online businesses for many years now. With a mature business model, technology needs torender ads effectively has risen significantly. The operators need to monetize the advertisingopportunities fully by user profile, behavior, context and mix and match with the right ad in itsinventory. As ads need to play on various types of devices such as STB, PC and mobiles,optimization of operator infrastructure is needed to consolidate inventory, re-purposing,publishing and presentation capabilities.Moreover, Hybrid CDNs are becoming popular as a common triple play infrastructure to delivercontent services Live, VOD, Download media services by optimizing streaming, encoding, trafficand network usage. Dynamic ad-insertion on a Hybrid CDN would further consolidateinfrastructure and create a more sustainable service infrastructure. How to create an ad-infrastructure on hybrid CDN to support triple play content distribution is an interestingchallenge. There have been efforts on device, Streaming/encoding, network, storage to enabledynamic ad-insertions. The current articles explores SMIL as an important device andstreaming/encoding side technology and how it can be utilize in Hybrid CDN deploymentinfrastructureExisting Advertising methodologiesAd insertion methods are all-inclusive systems, which integrate various components likecompression systems or encoders, ad splicer/switcher, storage devices, distribution networks,scheduling programs, ad servers etc. This article highlights various ad-insertion mechanisms.The play listing technique – It is video on demand ad-insertion methodology. In this method,the commercials are updated more frequently, possibly on a daily or weekly basis. An ad couldbe placed on VOD content, for a given day of the week and then be replaced, for subsequentweeks. This technique is not ideal because it lacks the benefits of real-time ad insertion andmanaging playlist is cumbersome. Furthermore, the ads are still not targeted to a particulargroup of viewers or to specific subscribers.In-stream advertising: In-stream video is generally played or viewed from a video player. In-stream video advertising is categorized into linear video ads and Non-linear video ads. In caseof linear video ads, the advertisements and the main clips are switched, once advertisementfinishes, the main stream resumes (e.g. pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll ads). In Non-linear videoads, the advertisement runs concurrently with the video content, so the user sees the ad whilewatching the content (e.g. overlay ad). These advertisements cannot typically be stopped frombeing played (e.g. pre-roll). This format is frequently used to monetize the video content thatthe publisher is delivering. In-stream advertisements, provides viewer engaging experience2 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
through clickable and track able features. In 2009, IAB had taken charge to develop standardsand growth in the in-stream advertising space. Also, various strategies are suggested tooptimize the in-stream advertising .Ad-splicing technique: The technique of splicing an advertisement between two segments ofthe original contents is called as Ad-splicing. The digital splice is the ability to insertcompressed digital content into a second incoming compressed digital content stream withoutdecoding and re-encoding either stream. The two streams may have different bit rates so theAd splicer must adapt the bit rate in real time, which appears to be seamless to the user. Eitherat some point in the network, or in the client, advertisements are spliced into the main stream.The splice point may occur in the middle of the stream or beginning of the main stream. Asshown in fig (1), the advertisement is supplied from an advertisement server, which may be co-located with other servers (e.g. the edge server). The Ad-splicer at the server side splices theadvertisement in video content. The splicing at server side, encounters burden due to largetraffic. Different users, at the client will get the same advertisements which limits targetedadvertising feature. Figure (1): Ad-splicing at server sideThe client side splicing is more complex, which requires more buffering and processing, tohandle more program streams in parallel. It is more cumbersome for mobile devices and set-top-boxes to fit the ad-splicer logic as more processing power and memory is required at theclient device. Though this technique helps in achieving targeted advertising, but still not widelyadopted.Advertising methodology in Cable domainAd splicing and play listing techniques provides a platform to deliver the advertisement in thecable domain. Digital program insertion (DPI) is the digital splicing of MPEG programs intoother MPEG programs. With digital program insertion, MSOs can replace a national advertisingslot with a local ad. In most cases, the ads are also transrated to make the most efficient use ofbandwidth. The Society for Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has created twostandards, SCTE 30 (Digital Program Insertion Splicing API) and SCTE 35 (Digital ProgramInsertion Cueing Message for Cable), that all DPI vendors must meet. Compliance with these twostandards ensures interoperability and interchangeability of ad insertion equipment. Now days,the cable operators are looking forward to include VOD telescoping, targeted & addressable 3 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
ads. The advanced advertising can be achieved through SCTE 130 (Advanced Advertising)standard. Beside DPI, operators will start with interactive applications based on Enhanced TVBinary Interchange (EBIF), and which further can be offered through the OpenCable Platform.Experimentational Dynamic Ad-insertion approachesDynamic insertion of selected ads at different points in a stream can be achieved using abovetechniques. TechM carried out experiments on the various approaches to address thechallenges in dynamic ad-insertion and to build the robust advertising platform for Telco’s.The section below, explains the experimentation on the various approaches and best fittechnology for the solution.Playlist based approach using Microsoft windows media technologyWindows media metafile playlist is a powerful approach of windows media technology whichallows inserting advertisement into a presentation. Windows media player uses a method calledevent switching, to switch between live streams and the on-demand streams for each user. Ituses two types of playlists to define the on-demand files that deliver the advertising, namelythe Client-side playlists and Server-side playlists. The former has the entries in .asx metafile,which are triggered by event commands in the live broadcast stream, which in turn initiate theon-demand streams that deliver the advertising whereas the Server-side playlist uses .wsx forthe entries, which are triggered by FIRE_EVENT commands. A further advantage is that WindowsMedia Services and Windows Media Player work together to play the clips one after the otherwith minimal buffering time or interruption between them. Figure (2): Windows Media for ad-insertionThe solution is proprietary; any platform other than Windows/IE may have problems. Also itdoesn’t support the widely used format like Flash, used by most video advertisers.Ad insertion at Stream level using Binary Information for Scene (BIFS)The Binary Format for Scenes (BIFS) is MPEG-4’s binary language for describing the scene and4 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
for dynamically changing it. Basically, MPEG-4 video consists of elementary streams, which inturn contains the following information - Object Descriptors, Object content information, Audioor visual object data for a single object, Scene description information.In addition, BIFS can be used to define behavior of objects, whether they are unconditionalbehaviors or as in response to user input. It was observed that only one elementary streamexists in the media i.e. 3D animation and high definition (HD) videos. Also, resultant of two ormore MPEG4 files, consists of separate streams, for individual video and audio information andso switching between elementary streams, seems an inappropriate solution. It was also seen,that it was very cumbersome to manipulate streams e.g. main video stream and advertisingstream at BIFS level, for ad-insertion and intricate too. The MPEG4 video stream created usingBIFS can only be played back by a MPEG4-Part 11 compliant player and is not supported bymost of the web browsers, resulting into propertiariness and is not an elgant way for adinsertion, in the content delivery network context.SMIL (Synchronized Markup Integration Language) is a way of combining animation and mediaobjects into a single coherent presentation. SMIL was first introduced in 1998 with version 1.0 and isa W3C recommendation. It is a text-based, non proprietary XML format and a recommendationfrom W3C. It basically contains synchronization relationships as to how external media such asvideo, audio, images and text can be presented. The pictures below, represents variousfeatures of SMIL. i.e. Fig(3) describes synchronization and layout of the video and audio contentin a presentation, while Fig (4) shows one of the transition effects between images in SMIL,namely BOX-IN transition. Fig (5) shows the usage of text in SMIL video wherein the lyrics ofa video can be displayed side by side, whereas Fig (6) shows linking features of SMIL,wherein a mouse click on a clip, results in playing, the respective video clip. Figure (3): SMIL – Layout and Synchronization 5 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
Figure (4): Transition Effects Figure (5): SMILText Figure (6): SMIL LinkingSMIL state-of-art also provides personalized video advertisement in hybrid content deliverynetwork. Video switching can be easily achieved through SMIL, without the need of controlling& managing buffer, either at the decoder or server side. It is convenient to show SMIL filesnatively, in a web browser, eliminating the requirement of a separate SMIL player or plug-in atthe media player. Beside that SMIL can easily fit into the web architecture. It is possible tosynchronize multiple live streams using SMIL with high quality experience. SMIL has the abilityto stream out multiple streams concurrently from a server.As shown in below figure (7), the streaming server, streams the media, which is being played bythe media player. As soon as the marker is detected in the video stream, the streaming servertriggers a request to the local advertisement server, for personalized video advertisement,based on the end user requests. The result is targeted advertising, which takes care ofrespective advertisement for the user. The advertisement server receives the user’s parameters Figure (7): SMIL for dyamic ad-insertion in content delivery networkand sends the relevant advertisement URL to the streaming server. SMIL will then be updateddynamically and stream the unique advertising stream to the media player. The existing6 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
advertisement server makes use of XML/web service interface, which would be used bystreaming server for integration with the ad server. Based on the experimental analysis it canbe seen, that SMIL for dynamic ad-insertion, is a convenient approach.In hybrid content delivery network, the network provider can host regional Ad-server for thelocalized advertisement. The media distribution will be achieved through hybrid CDN includingpeering technology and advertisement can be delivered from regional ad-server to achievetargeted advertising. The end-user client will receive the live stream from other peers. Whenthe client detects markers in the live stream, it will request regional Ad-server for theadvertisement. Using SMIL client can seamlessly switch between both the streams i.e. main andadvertisement streams without client side modifications.Since version 1.0, there have been versions 2.0, followed by 2.1 and 3.0. SMIL 1.0 was thebaseline and did not have advanced features such as State, DOM and support for mobileapplications. While SMIL 2.0 introduced profiles to achieve interoperability between browsersand player, SMIL 2.1 introduced in addition to features of 2.0, profiles for mobile.Finally SMIL 3.0 came up with still advanced features such as State, which provides a mechanismfor the author to create more complex control flow than, what SMIL provides through the timingand content control modules, without using a scripting language. It also provides SMIL Text, anew media type for use in SMIL presentations, which provides a text container element, with anexplicit content model for defining in-line text, and a set of additional elements and attributesto control explicit in-line text rendering which can be used for Overlay-ads. SMIL 3.0 describesthe DOM and STB profile support too. The DOM support consists of two independently usableparts, a module which contains methods to start and stop parts of a presentation duringplayback, and a description of the effects of changing attributes during playback.Benefits and applications of SMILThe following section describes the benefits of SMIL to the development of dynamic adinsertion. Besides that, SMIL can be utilized in diversifying applications with the abundant andsimplified capabilities.Benefits Widely Available - SMIL is compliant with many media players i.e. QuickTime, Real Player, Grins player, Ambulant Player Flash and Silverlight, to name a few. It is supported by most of the available web browsers without need of any plug-in. It also runs on several operating systems and supports modularization and profiling. SMIL 3.0 defines STB profile which fits current demands for standardized media centric solution for broadcast TV and IPTV. SMIL content can be played in STB profile compatible player . Synchronization Capabilities - SMIL is the first language that makes the benefits of the Web architecture available to the world of synchronized multimedia. Multiple live streams can be synchronized using SMIL. SMIL presentation with seamlessly synchronized video and audio tracks can receive smooth data, in order to start playing, which can help to engage the viewer. SMIL 2.1 includes a simplified version of SMIL targeted for mobile devices 7 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
Multiple Format & Internalization support - This is one of the key features of SMIL which allows playback of any kind of video adopted by advertisers and content providers. SMILs internationalization features, including the ability to include multiple audio tracks in a variety of languages, make significant steps towards enabling the proper display of multilingual multimedia documents. Integration with 3rd party advertisement provider – Most of the advertisement platform exposes XML or web service interface, XML-in-SMIL feature of SMIL technology helps in interaction with the ad server.Applications of SMIL It allows the creation of time-based multimedia over web/media players, various applications of SMIL include slide shows, advertisements, interactive guides, games, and education programs Used in adaptive dynamic streaming application for media or advertisement adaptation based on the device capabilities and network conditions e.g. MS IIS smooth streaming, Apple’s Adaptive dynamic streaming uses SMIL at the server side. SMIL is being implemented on handheld and mobile devices and has also spawned the subset known as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) which eventually helps in delivering MMS or ads to mobile devices. The field of Digital Signage is embracing SMIL as a means of controlling dynamic advertising in public areas.ConclusionMonetization of content traffic is becoming a necessity for service provider today. Dynamic adinsertion in their content delivery network could become a key service differentiator for bothadvertisers and end-users. SMIL based ad-insertion can bring regional-level and even individuallevel ad insertions. This approach can be combined with ongoing data analytics, multi-serviceintegration, Hybrid CDNs to create a true triple-play distribution service. Key SMIL benefitsincludes - Seamless switching between video streams with high quality presentation Adherence to standard and non-proprietary solution Adaptability for available network bandwidth, easy integration with web architectureReferences White Paper - Hybrid CDNs Leveraging the Best of Both Worlds http://www.techmahindra.com/home/whitepapers.aspx SMIL Introduction - http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/ http://service.real.com/help/library/guides/ProductionGuide/prodguide/htmfiles/conte nt.htm ISO/IEC 14496-11, Coding of audio-visual objects, Part 11: Scene description and Application engine (BIFS, XMT, MPEG-J) HTML5-http://www.silverlighthack.com/post/2010/04/02/HTML-5-is-Born-Old- Quake-in-HTML-5.aspx8 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
 Microsoft windows media for ad-insertion- http://msdn.microsoft.com/en- us/library/dd564562(VS.85).aspx In-Stream video advertising- http://www.iab.net/media/file/IAB-Video-Ad-Format- Standards.pdf Ways to optimize in-stream video advertising - http://apac.mediamind.com/10-ways- to-better-use-in-stream-advertising/ SMIL 3.0 Set-top-box Profile- http://www.w3.org/TR/2006/WD-SMIL3- 20061220/smil-set-topbox-profile.html#q10 SMIL, Pat Boyle; Slideshow with .rp script http://www.toolbook.org/download/tb99/smil.ppt SMIL - Transition effects sample http://service.real.com/help/library/guides/ProductionGuide/prodguide/realpgd.htm SMIL - Interactive sample http://service.real.com/help/library/guides/ProductionGuide/prodguide/realpgd.htm SMIL – News Demo http://www.ambulantplayer.org/Demos.shtmlAbout Tech Mahindra:Tech Mahindra is part of the multi-billion dollar Mahindra Group, in partnership with BritishTelecommunications plc (BT), the world’s leading communications service provider. Focusedprimarily on the telecommunications industry, Tech Mahindra is a leading global systemsintegrator and business transformation consulting organization. Tech Mahindra has recentlyexpanded its IT portfolio by acquiring the leading global business and information technologyservices company, Mahindra Satyam (earlier known as Satyam Computer Services).Tech Mahindra’s capabilities spread across a broad spectrum, including Business SupportSystems (BSS), Operations Support Systems (OSS), Network Design & Engineering, NextGeneration Networks, Mobility Solutions, Security consulting and Testing. The solutionsportfolio includes Consulting, Application Development & Management, Network Services,Solution Integration, Product Engineering, Infrastructure Managed Services, RemoteInfrastructure Management and BPO. With an array of service offerings for TSPs, TEMs and ISVs,Tech Mahindra is a chosen transformation partner for several leading wireline, wireless andbroadband operators in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.Tech Mahindra has successfully implemented more than 15 Green Field Operations globally andhas over 113 active customer engagements in the Telecom sector. The company has beeninvolved in about 8 transformation programs of incumbent telecom operators. 9 © Tech Mahindra Limited 2010
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