Case Study

MediaWorks Increases Available Ad Inventory by 35% Using Server-Side Ad Insertion

What we’ve established with SSAI is a way to reach this segment that are often invisible to agencies and advertisers....we can reach them with online video where other publishers can’t.”
Tom CotterChief Information and Product Officer

Creating a “TV-Like” AVOD Experience

In the increasingly competitive world of online video, MediaWorks is building a powerful and profitable Ad-Supported Video On Demand (AVOD) business and uses server-side ad insertion (SSAI) to monetize global and locally created content and optimize the viewing experience. As New Zealand's largest independent broadcaster, MediaWorks boasts an extensive portfolio of leading news and entertainment brands, broadcasting across three television and 10 radio stations nationwide, as well as on live and on-demand platforms.

As MediaWorks manages their response to fragmentation it remains focused on relevant content, a quality user experience and great results for advertisers. “Our job is to provide an exceptional viewing experience,” declares Tom Cotter, Chief Information and Product Officer. “We differentiate ourselves by offering local content and a high-quality viewing experience. We don't care what device viewers use, as long as we're there with our content; it's secure and we're monetizing it in some form.”

In 2015, MediaWorks was experiencing massive growth in online video but faced two major challenges:

  1. Their old infrastructure was buckling under the pressure.
  2. 25% of their total user base were using ad blockers with usage much higher with the younger skewed properties.

“We made a strategic business decision to implement Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) to overcome these challenges. SSAI defeats ad blockers and enabled us to deploy Brightcove across all of our platforms in a fraction of the time versus client-side,” states Cotter.

Optimizing the Viewing Experience

With SSAI, there's no delay or interruption in playing ad content. Ads are stitched seamlessly into the content on the server before being streamed to the viewer’s device, eliminating buffering, pausing or stuttering transitions between the program video and the ad content.

“When viewers watch our video, the ads flow right along with the actual content. It’s seamless,” explains Cotter. “Today, ads are inserted on the server side, on all devices, including mobile apps. It's a very TV-like, ad-supported experience, so you actually forget you're watching AVOD content.”

The high-quality viewing experience is one of the reasons SSAI has increased MediaWorks’ total inventory by 35%. “When comparing viewing times, there was a 14% lift in time spent viewing videos with SSAI. That’s an increase viewing time of three minutes on average, which is huge, as it opens up so many more monetization opportunities across our base.”

The Lost Generation

MediaWorks wasn’t surprised to find its AVOD audience skewed younger, a demographic not only less inclined to watch traditional linear broadcasting, but also much more likely to use of ad blockers.

“What we’ve established with SSAI is a way to reach this segment that are often invisible to agencies and advertisers. If 25% of users are using ad blockers, then they are ghosts online—but we can reach them with online video where other publishers can’t.”

Staying Ahead of a Rapidly Changing Ecosystem

When MediaWorks decided to move to AVOD, the company looked for a high-performance video platform that would allow it to get to market quickly, and at the lowest cost. MediaWorks chose SSAI with Brightcove as the solution.

“Integrating and maintaining different players with diverse ad logic across 14 different apps and endpoints is incredibly expensive. With SSAI, there is one stream and one player. This saved us months of development time and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Cotter.

“With Brightcove taking care of the infrastructure, I can have my developers working on things that differentiate us rather than building commodity tools,” says Cotter. “The video industry ecosystem is moving quickly, and it's complicated. The diversity is huge, and as scale increases, we need to get the cost for delivery down. I would hate to be running the video stack myself, knowing the complexity and the amount of work that's going to go on over the next four or five years. Brightcove takes all that off our plate. With their expertise and ongoing innovation, we have fewer architectural decisions to make and fewer things to run, so Brightcove is our solution for video.”

As for the future, MediaWorks wants to add server-side ad insertion to its live content. “Our live stream numbers are doubling year-on-year, and I want to move to a point where we can monetize those views, using server-side ad insertion with our live content,” says Cotter.

Using Brightcove SSAI, MediaWorks accomplishes their goals of defeating ad blockers while bringing a broadcast ad experience to online video. MediaWorks’ results validate that they can provide an outstanding user experience, and at the same time increase monetizable inventory.