How One Broadcaster Increased Ad Inventory 35% Using Server -Side Ad Insertion (SSAI)

While most media organizations are past the hurdle of producing and distributing content, the landscape continues to change, and new challenges continue to emerge. The rise of ad blockers and the technology challenges associated with delivering quality content have left the economics of publishing ad-supported video strained. Tom Cotter, MediaWorks’ CTO, joined us at PLAY 2017 and shared with attendees how the company has built a powerful and profitable Ad-Supported Video On Demand (AVOD) business while placing viewer experience front and center.

MediaWorks is New Zealand's largest independent broadcaster. The organisation reaches 96 percent of the local population, boasting an extensive portfolio of leading news and entertainment brands, and live and on-demand video platforms, while also broadcasting across three television and 10 radio stations nationwide. 

MediaWorks has experienced massive growth in online video with over 55 million streams a month across the network. It’s primary objectives are to provide relevant content, deliver top quality video experiences, and ensure results for advertisers.The broadcaster was running into two business-critical, but common, problems.

  1. 25% of viewers were using ad blockers.
  2. Its legacy infrastructure couldn’t support its video growth plans.

To solve these challenges, MediaWorks made the strategic decision to partner with Brightcove to revamp its AVOD business, using server-side ad insertion (SSAI) to monetise content and optimise viewing experiences for millions of Kiwis. The results were impressive — through SSAI, MediaWorks was able to increase total ad inventory by 35 percent.

MediaWorks looked to SSAI for four key benefits:

  1. Defeating ad blockers.
  2. Increase reach to lower end devices.
  3. Increase time spent viewing.
  4. Lower cost of development.

Defeating Ad Blockers With TV-like Experiences

MediaWorks determined that 25 percent of its total user base were deploying ad blockers, and one youth brand in particular had a 75 percent ad blocker rate. The team knew it was time to take action. With Brightcove SSAI, ads are stitched seamlessly into MediaWorks’ content on the server before being streamed. Not only does this eliminate buffering, pausing, and stuttering transitions between program video and ads to create a quality, TV-like experience, it also mitigates the impact of ad blockers, extending MediaWorks’ ability to reach its key audiences with premium content.

MediaWorks deployed SSAI  first on one of their radio properties. Immediately, a significant proportion of video traffic went up. In an instant, they got access to devices that it would never have seen otherwise. 

“A benefit to server side ad insertion that we didn’t appreciate to begin with is if people are running these adblockers they're effectively ghosts to the media buyers and they’re ghosts to the exchanges. So with 25 percent of our audience coming in since using SSAI, they're a unique viewer to an exchange or a media buyer. So, that’s actually quite a differentiator for us in the market,” Cotter said.

Results: Improved Video Ad Monetization, Increase in Ad Inventory

The high-quality viewing experience from SSAI has helped MediaWorks increase total ad inventory by 35 percent. The organisation experienced a 14 percent lift in time spent viewing videos, opening up more monetisation opportunities across MediaWorks’ base.

Before implementing SSAI, integrating and maintaining different players with diverse ad logic across MediaWorks’ 14 different apps and endpoints was proving incredibly expensive. Since the implementation, MediaWorks was able to consolidate to one stream and one player, saving months of development time and hundreds of thousands of dollars. This freed up MediaWorks resources to work on initiatives that differentiate the broadcaster and improve user experience, rather than building commodity tools or making architectural decisions. And, the overall results are looking 3x sweeter than what was originally projected.

MediaWorks differentiates itself by offering relevant on-demand content and a high-quality viewing experience to its audience, while also providing great results for advertisers. The broadcaster has succeeded in balancing consumer experience and monetization.

To learn more about MediaWorks’ migration to Brightcove SSAI, read the full case study here.

Want to learn how to win viewers and advertisers with your digital content? Come visit us next year at PLAY 2018.  To get on the invite list, just RSVP to from your work email address.