How Network Seven successfully monetised the Australian Open with DAI

Paul DaviesPaul Davies, communications and marketing manager, Yospace, talks about the benefits of digital advertising insertion technology at a time when broadcasters are increasingly streaming their channels online. 

How often do you watch television on your laptop, tablet or smartphone? If you’re anything like the majority of modern-day viewers, the answer to that question will be ‘fairly regularly’. Our viewing habits are changing, and we’re choosing to watch more content on portable devices.

Let’s use tennis fans as an example of this technological shift. If they want to watch the latest match during the Australian Open, they can simply tune in and start watching from wherever they are using a portable device — there’s no longer any need to set up camp in the living room or head to the nearest bar to watch it.

We’re at a point now where all major broadcasters in the UK offer online live streams of their channels, making it easier than ever before to take advantage of this new viewing habit. While viewers are offered more freedom, broadcasters can benefit from Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) for live streaming, which is an effective and somewhat vital monetisation tool for live online content.

Unlike previous client-side ad insertion solutions, which have become notorious for their “clunkiness”, server-side DAI inserts the adverts into the stream before it’s delivered to the player, which results in a single, seamless stream that plays out without any of the usual buffering or delays. Add that to close integrations with the broadcaster’s playout systems to ensure frame-accuracy, and viewers are often completely unaware that any change has taken place. In other words: it is broadcast television, and not just another video.

As well as the more natural user experience that is ensured by DAI, the technology also allows broadcasters to reap the numerous benefits of online advertising, including the tailoring of adverts to audience demographics that tune in. This allows them to take advantage of these demographics by serving them targeted advertising that is likely to be of more interest to them — something that’s extremely effective during live sports events like the Australian Open.

This is exactly what the Australian broadcaster Seven Network did during its coverage of the nation’s premium tennis tournament. With live online broadcasts of all 16 courts, Seven needed to find a solution that could successfully monetise each stream and deliver a return on the significant broadcast investment.

“Sports live streaming is massively popular, with long streaming sessions, so we sought to unlock the advertising potential of midroll advertising, for every host broadcaster court stream,” said Jeremy Brown, Solutions Architect, Video and Advertising at Seven Network. “Midroll advertising had to perform with the precision placement of broadcast. The integrity of the stream could not be compromised and viewers should never miss any action.”

To achieve the seamless, high-quality experience Seven was hoping for, it adopted server-side DAI as its monetisation solution, which also made each of the 16 court streams financially viable to the broadcaster.

The technology also helped to maximise its multi-platform reach. By stitching in advertising on the server side, the amount of work required in the player on the user’s device is vastly reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of app/player management by Seven. The benefit is that no matter which platforms or devices viewers are watching on, Seven can be confident that it is delivering premium advertising throughout the duration of the streaming session.

With all of this in mind, DAI provides huge benefits for broadcasters and for the viewers. For Seven, it provided the broadcaster with mid-roll advertising revenue that would have been non-existent otherwise, and at a premium rate. For viewers on the other hand, they’re more likely to sit back and enjoy advertising that is relevant without disruption.

Speaking on DAI’s positive impact on Seven’s Australian Open coverage, Jahn Erdogan, ad tech specialist at Seven, said: “The DAI platform opened up a whole new body of inventory during the Australian Open which was otherwise inaccessible. Across 16 live channels for a premium sporting tournament, that represents a hugely significant amount of ad revenue.

“Meanwhile, we were also able to curate the advertising according to the user’s location, device or platform, and even the frequency that they were watching the Seven tennis streams. As a result, viewers were getting advertising that was far more relevant to their interests, and without the ad fatigue that can come if you see the same ad multiple times.”

As we continue to see substantial growth in online viewing, consumers are simultaneously opening up a whole new stream of revenue for broadcasters in live stream advertising. By adopting DAI, broadcasters and content owners are able to benefit from the successful monetisation of its online content, while maintaining viewer engagement in the process.

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