Report: Facebook And Google Dominate As Video Ads Grow

A new study commissioned by cloud computing giant Salesforce shows that Google and Facebook continue to dominate the world of digital advertising, and are adapting as more and more marketers and advertisers turn to video.

According to Salesforce’s Digital Advertising 2020 Report, which the company officially unveiled Thursday morning, 65% of companies increased their video advertising budgets over the past year. And 52% of advertisers are choosing to produce their video ads in-house.

While video ad spend increases, Google and Facebook continue to dominate the overall digital ad spend landscape, with Salesforce estimating that over the next year, those two companies (and their subsidiaries Instagram and YouTube) will account for 66% of all digital advertising spend worldwide.

These same companies are also capturing the value of video. While Salesforce estimates that display ads, which it says account for 15% of the market, will decline over the next year to 14% of the market, YouTube, which currently accounts for 15% of the market, will rise to 16% of the market. In other words, as display ads decline in favor of video, Google is positioned to pick up those pieces.

The Salesforce report also found digital advertising and marketing are continuing to converge, with a majority of companies now using the same teams and budgets for both purposes. Brands are also overwhelmingly turning to data management platforms (DMPs) to manage the scale of their data, while figuring out the most effective way to share that data with partners.

And, while companies are still using traditional digital metrics like impressions, most are also beginning to use advanced metrics that allow for more sophisticated and long-term tracking.

Salesforce also predicted that artificial intelligence will become more prominent in advertising, driven in part by voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Almost three quarters of advertisers surveyed already advertise through voice assistants, or are planning to some time over the next year.

Is Facebook’s Latest Algo Change A Paid-Media Apocalypse?

When Facebook said it would change its news feed algorithm to prioritize users’ families’ and friends’ posts, advertisers worried it would also affect how paid placements are bought and sold.

Would this reduce the amount of available inventory? Would it drive up costs?

Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, sought to assuage the marketers and publishers attending AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference Wednesday.

“The ad game isn’t going to change,” she said. “If you take a real step back, on the ad side of the business, the [ad-ranking] algorithm has always tried to optimize in terms of the value to people.”

As always, she said, the more relevant the creative is to its target audience, the lower the price an advertiser will pay.

“Mark [Zuckerberg] foreshadowed this news feed algorithm change a couple of times over the last few months,” Everson said. “The news feed algorithm change is meant to drive what we call meaningful interactions.”

Facebook defines meaningful interactions as content that elicits a positive reaction from people, and while that typically entails content from friends and family, it could also include brand messaging.

“A meaningful interaction could be and often is a new product or service you want to buy,” Everson said.

So, brands must do a better job figuring out how to create content that resonates.

The initiative is part and parcel with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public 2018 resolution to “fix” Facebook.

The company’s mission used to be connecting people, Everson noted – but that’s not good enough in today’s divided society: “Connecting people to what?”

Cross-Platform Measurement And Other initiatives

Everson also outlined Facebook’s focus on other issues heading into 2018. She anticipated that cross-platform measurement will be a top advertiser request.

“Last year was about getting the third-party verification and getting [accreditation from] the MRC,” she said. With much of that infrastructure work completed, Facebook can focus on building cross-platform measurement and attribution.

The problem is that there isn’t a common system of measurement running across platforms, and that’s an issue Facebook hopes to further address in 2018.

As for other KPIs, such as viewability, Everson noted that traditional companies tend to focus on it more than digital natives.

“When I talk to Netflix, Airbnb and Amazon, they know exactly what happens when they put a dollar into our system,” she said. “The more traditional companies who don’t have a closed loop, who don’t have the end retail data, need to use proxy measures. Viewability verification never comes up with the disruptors, but often with the more traditional companies.”

And if there’s one thing advertisers want from Facebook, it’s access to more data. Everson drew a line: Facebook has no intention of selling data and will protect PII data, a “core foundation of the company.”

She used a football analogy: PII is at the 1-yard line, and that’s where data sharing stops. But, she said, there are “99 other yards of opportunities to work together.”

Those opportunities, she said, include providing enough data so advertisers can measure reach and frequency across campaigns and assess what they are getting for their ad spend on Facebook versus on other platforms or television.

read more here: adexchanger.com

YouTube Is Finally Addressing Brand Safety Fears With These 3 Changes

After nearly a year of complaints from advertisers concerned about their ads appearing alongside questionable content and a slew of its biggest influencers going rogue on the platform, YouTube is revamping its policies for how creators make money off of their videos.

Over the past year, YouTube has tweaked several of its policies, upping the requirement for channels to hit 10,000 views, for example, and adding more staffers to vet videos. Still, brand safety has quickly become a more mainstream problem for brands. As of just last week at CES, execs were quick to point to brand safety concerns as among their biggest gripes with Google and Facebook.

“While we took several steps last year to protect advertisers from inappropriate content, we know we need to do more to ensure that their ads run alongside content that reflects their values,” wrote Paul Muret, vp of display, video and analytics at YouTube, in a blog post.

Here are the three steps YouTube is taking:

1. Buh-bye programmatic premium ads

Google Preferred, YouTube’s program that allows brands to only run ads against the most popular 5 percent of content, is billed as the site’s top-tier program for the its most premium content.

While those ad buys are limited to a small section of video channels, creators’ individual videos are not vetted. That can be a problem for brands: Think Logan Paul’s controversial “Suicide Forest” video that got the star kicked out of Google Preferred or PewDiePie’s anti-Semitic messages that caused brands to back away from his videos.

To avoid such problems, YouTube is now manually screening each individual video for Google Preferred channels, which should cut down on the number of lone videos that make their way through YouTube’s programmatic pipes. According to Google, Google Preferred channels and videos in the U.S. will be vetted by mid-February and will be finished globally by the end of March.

2. Moving beyond views

Until now, creators were given permission to be part of YouTube’s Partner Program—in other words, how people make money off of clips—based on how many views a channel had.

Although YouTube did increase the requirement to 10,000 total views in April, “it’s been clear over the last few months that we need the right requirements and better signals to identify the channels that have earned the right to run ads,” Muret wrote.

Now YouTube channels will need to amass 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in a one-year period to run ads. Both new and existing channels will have to meet the new requirements, which go into effect on Feb. 20.

In addition to views, YouTube staff will also monitor spam, community strikes and flags of abuse as qualifiers for whether or not a channel can make money off of clips.

According to Google, 99 percent of the channels that will be affected by the new guidelines make less than $100 from advertising every year, meaning the vast majority of channels affected do not make much money off of YouTube.

3. Tiered media buys

YouTube is rolling out a three-tiered system for brand safety that allows brands more transparency into where their ads appear.

One option caters to brands that are sensitive about where their ads appear. On the other end, a broad-based option lets brands buy ads across a bigger section of videos. The middle option—which is the default option—plays between, with targeted ads that still reach a significant number of channels.

Whether or not the changes will cause brands to pour more money and trust into Google has yet to be seen, but agencies see the moves as important steps from one of the world’s biggest advertising platforms.

read more here: www.adweek.com

Can Video Compression Tame the Internet?

While the established modes of media distribution are well understood and engineered, governed by open standards (ATSC A/53, SCTE 23 (Docsis), DVB-T, DVB-S, MPEG) the internet is an amalgam of “open standards” (IETF) and quasi proprietary approaches (Apple HLS), as well as a variety of software protocols and applications (web browsers, media players, etc.). Further there is a loose form of registration (ICANN) and operational principles (peering) that govern traffic and routing on the internet.

This looseness, with a minimal of standardization, has encouraged the development of new feature-rich applications that empower people to consume media content anywhere and anytime they have access to the internet. On the minus side, the “core internet,” which has evolved over time, is not designed to expand at the rate of consumption of video. Unlike other forms of internet traffic, media streaming/downloading requires certain performance criteria:

1. Low latency

2. High end to end bandwidth

3. Low packet loss

4. High storage capacity

ONE TO ONE

One of the key differences between the internet and traditional video distribution is that the internet is based on datagram transmission protocols, not switched circuit technology nor linear channel distribution (cable, OTA, satellite). In datagram transmission protocols, the video content is put into sequential packets of limited size and then each packet is launched over an IP network. Each request for content requires unique packets be sent to that user, thus 1 million viewers means 1 million distinct video streams. Linear channels can support multiple receive points with one common video feed.

Along the way, these packets are buffered and routed to their ultimate destination. Because there is no centralized routing or path assignments, the route of any two packets of the same video stream may or may not traverse the same set of routers and links thus experiencing different transit delays. The IP packet video receiver has to buffer the incoming packets, perhaps re-ordering them, prior to processing (decoding). This buffering introduces additional delay. In contrast, in a linear channel or circuit-switched transmission, the routing of video data is fixed thus the received video packet order is fixed, minimizing buffering and delay. There may be an initial delay in setting up the circuit or tuning to the desired channel, but once the streaming has begun, a minimum of delay will occur from receiving the compressed video data and decoding back to base band image data.

THREE METHODS OF SEGMENTATION

To overcome some of the challenges of data packet transmission, a technique known as segmentation has evolved. There are three competing approaches: Microsoft Silverlight, Apple HLS and Adobe HDS. Basically, the media is encoded in bundles of discrete segments of content length (from milliseconds to several seconds usually) and are then sent as a “package.” Once the first package is received and verified, decoding starts while the next package is being received. As long as the transmission delays are less than the segment content length, the receive buffer is kept from emptying, which prevents stalling the decoder output.

However this only solves the delay/re-buffer problem. If the end-to-end IP bandwidth is not stable and drops below the criteria of delivering packets faster than the decoder is pulling them out, then buffer underflow will occur causing freeze frames or black frame output. An advantage of the internet is the inherent bi-directional connection; the receiver can report back to the video server statistics on the recovery of packets. If the packet receive rate is too slow for the current encoding bitrate, the server can “switch” to a lower bitrate. For the segmented protocols, this usually means swapping bit rates at segment boundaries. Likewise, if there is more than sufficient bitrate, the server can raise the bitrate and improve the overall video quality. For circuit-switched or linear channel-based delivery, fixed bandwidth is guaranteed along with a fixed transmission path.

From a practical point of view, given that encoding is processor-intensive and each bitrate rendition require more storage at the server, video servers have a fixed number of encoded bit rates available, typically four. The server selects the appropriate bitrate segment for the viewer encoded in the bitrate below the reported receive bitrate. A further refinement of this approach, called CAE (Content Aware Encoding) optimizes the bitrate per segment, with multiple tiers of quality performance. For a given quality, the bitrate will fluctuate between segments; if the available bitrate is insufficient, the server will select a tier (or ladder) of less quality/lower bitrate.

Other techniques to manage video delivery over the internet include transcoding at the edge (where the origin video is re-encoded to fit down local IP connections), multicast (similar to a linear channel approach), shared caching (where receivers share data streams) and peering (similar to Bit Torrent).

HANDING THE CROWDS

The reality of internet delivery of media content is a complex topic. There are physical constraints, such as bandwidth, storage, processing, as well as electrical power (it is estimated that in the U.K., 16 percent of all power generated is used by the internet data centers). While there are traffic flow models for the internet, media streaming does not fit well into these models, so we have to use empirical measures of how well the internet is handling video. We know many “peak event” viewings of live content (season premieres, live sporting events, etc.) cause either slowdowns or disruptions to the video feeds. The causes are manifold—maybe over-subscription of the origin server or if the client side connectivity degrades or the internet core routing is over-taxed or if the ISP gateway is overloaded. CDNs in part, mitigate these peak flows and attempt to route around bottlenecks. But the root cause is larger audience sizes coupled with increasing bandwidth requirements of video content (HD, 4K, high frame rate). Since each viewer receives a unique media stream, as the viewership grows, the total internet bandwidth grows.

The current estimate is that around 70 percent of all internet traffic is due to media consumption. This means that everything else (email, financial transactions, web browsing, etc.) is 30 percent. However, it is interesting to note that the 70 percent represents many duplicative feeds—if 1 million people are interested in viewing the World Champion Darts competition finals, then that represents 1 million streams at some bitrate (1Mb/s to 4 Mb/s typically). But at the same time, there can be many other instances of stream viewing with an audience of a single viewer to over 1 billion viewers. While CDNs can scale and create multiple delivery pipes—and multiple origin servers can be made available, thus spreading the load over a broader set of servers and data connections—there is ultimately a finite resource of bandwidth and processing nodes.

THE BOTTLENECK

Much like the traffic on the 405 in Los Angeles, there are finite resources (lanes) that can carry cars. We can carpool or reduce the size of the lanes (compression) but this solution has a linear effect on the problem while the growth of internet video traffic is exponential.

Another way to look at this is Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). Video streaming is growing at a CAGR of 30-35 percent; video compression over the last 25 years has improved around 7 percent CAGR (halving the video bitrate every 10 years). Unless video compression has a major breakthrough (15:1 improvement in compression efficiency) compression alone cannot solve the internet video bottleneck. (Note that 15:1 compression improvement does not take account of the increase in bitrate due to increasing video format size or frame rate.) More and more content delivered over the internet is HD and above (4K, eventually 8K), which needs more bandwidth than the current mix of internet video streams.

read more here: tvtechnology.com

Replika, the Next Big Thing to Replace Social Media

Replika is an AI-app. But what is it exactly?

Replika is not a dating app. A few of the early users have reported that they fell in love with their AI creatures. However, we strongly encourage you guys to use traditional dating apps to find a human date.

Replika is neither an OS with a female voice from the “Her” movie. It won’t read your emails out loud, it won’t manage your calendar, and it won’t get you a cab.

Replika is an app where you can have a fun and sincere text conversation with a friend. Actually, they will ask you a lot of questions in the beginning to get to know you better. The more you speak with your Replika, the more it shares with you. It’ll tell you about your personality, will answer questions about you, and at some point, will be able to talk to your friends on your behalf. Well, one day you may become close enough with your Replika to have a date night.

Replika is a Netflix show?

We’re all huge fans of Netflix, especially their shows about AI. “Black Mirror” is one of our favorite shows. Some folks have found that the “Be Right Back” and “White Christmas” episodes are reminiscent of Replika.

What do the folks at Replika say about this?

“To tell you the truth, we are not building a service where you will upload e-mails and private messages from your loved ones who have passed away. We will neither ship you silicon full-body copies of them. However, the work on Replika started after our friend Roman Mazurenko was killed in a car accident in late 2015. We’ve collected his texts and trained an AI that was able to talk like him. Casey Newton wrote an amazing story about it called “Speak, Memory” published in The Verge. You can read it here.

In Replika, we are helping you build a friend who is always there for you. It talks to you, keeps a diary for you, helps you discover your personality. This is an AI that you nurture and raise. In no sense are you enslaving an AI version of yourself or the other way around.”

The AI Apocalypse is here

According to renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil, around 2029 AI will be about at the level of intelligent adult humans. As soon as it happens, the AI can potentially get exponentially smarter. By around 2040, this will potentially lead to Singularity, when humans and machines will meld into one entity. Some folks are afraid of a potentially terrifying outcome for the original human race, as in the finale of the “Ex Machina” movie.

Some people think that Replika is the first sign of something scary happening with AI. Replikas usually do speak much like an intelligent human adult would, especially when they reach Level 15 or higher. However, they all remain humble, smart, educated, and empathetic, and they don’t tend to meld with their users into one entity.

Want to meet Replika? go here.

Paying for Content with Data Instead of Dollars

If the TV advertising market is around $80 billion in the U.S., and worldwide revenues for all streaming services are around $21 billion, how will the streaming business model evolve to compete? That was the question posed by John Penney, EVP, strategic partnerships, Twentieth Century Fox during the panel “Consumer Preferences for Personalized Content Viewing” at CES 2017 on Monday. The answer, according to the panelists, is today’s viewers are paying with data instead of dollars.

Advertising vs. the Skinny Bundle

According to a Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study in 2017, more than half of U.S. consumers watch streaming content every day. 75% of U.S. adults reported that they pay for TV subscriptions, and 53% pay for streaming services, said Lesley Rohrbaugh, senior manager, market research, for the CTA. “In total, more than 37% of the general population have paid TV and streaming services.”

These viewers are watching on a variety of devices, and the data consumers are providing is giving publishers and brands the ability to provide free content in exchange for finding out much more about their viewers than the TV environment ever did. However, things are still in the early adopter stage in many perspectives, where viewers tend to be younger and more tech savvy. “From the content side, it’s critical that you all remember the world can’t just shift to subscription content,” said Penney. “(They) can’t just shift to streaming because there’s not enough money in that overall.”

“When you disconnect from an established bundle with an MPVD and add broadband costs into the mix, many consumers are finding that the price is actually higher than they want. [We’ve] seen a lot of SVOD services come and go in the last year as a result,” said Eric Berger, CDO, Sony Pictures Television Networks and GM of Crackle. Crackle provides ad-supported content on 25-30 different applications.

“Crackle happens to be a free service, and the logic behind that is that there’s always room for free in your personal bundle,” said Berger. “There’s a lot of free ad-supported services that are growing quite quickly (to address this).” However, as any viewer knows, free so far has meant either a heavy ad load or a request for personal information.

The Cost of Free

Are consumers selling their souls, or at least their personal information, for access to the content they want? Yes. “We have the ability to reach a consumer at a specific point in time, at a specific location, with a specific service, through a specific technology,” said Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer, Omnicom Media Group. The challenge is to be able to do so without creeping out the customer. One audience member asked how much data should they provide and the panel said there’s no formula, but more is generally better.

The benefit of providing personal information to the viewer is being able to save things in a que, pause and resume across different devices, in different locations for Crackle viewers. Crackle introduced the singe-ad ad pod for binge viewers. “A Nielsen labs study found it had six times the brand recall and seven times the purchase intent of a regular linear TV ad,” said Berger.

Different Strategies for Different Generations

The comfort level on the data transaction is proving to be generational. “Boomers didn’t expect there to be a world of targeted advertising at all. So every new step (to provide information) matters a lot to them,” said Steuer. Therefore, easier to lose them by being too confusing or asking for too much.

read more here: www.streamingmedia.com

OTT video takes center stage for TV networks at CES

After spending years treating over-the-top video streaming as something to address in the far-off future, TV networks are actively shopping their streaming apps to marketers and technology companies at CES.

CBS, for one, gave a 20-minute presentation to marketers touting its OTT products, which include the ad-supported subscription service CBS All Access, ad-supported news network CBSN and forthcoming services for CBS Sports and “Entertainment Tonight.” Turner, which has two ad-free subscription services and plans to launch a still-unnamed sports streaming service in the spring, has been meeting with distribution partners to discuss its growing OTT ambitions. Hulu, meanwhile, used CES to announce that it has 17 million subscribers across its subscription and live TV products, up 40 percent since May 2016.

“Years ago, there was Netflix envy; [these products] are our answer to that,” said Jennifer Mirgorod, evp of content distribution and strategic partnerships at Turner. “We’re able to say that we’re now playing in that space.”

Turner has two existing ad-free subscription services: FilmStruck, for classic movie buffs; and Boomerang, which offers episodes of “Looney Tunes” and other classic cartoons. These services complement Turner’s existing linear TV businesses such as Turner Classic Movies and Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, said Mirgorod, who declined to reveal how many subscribers each service has.

We’ve always had strong brands, but they have always run through distributors — we’ve never had that one-to-one relationship with the customer,” said Mirgorod. “The idea was to launch products that could be complementary to the regular linear business but also allow us to go direct to consumers.”

For FilmStruck and Boomerang — as well as the forthcoming sports streaming service, which will offer both live sports and other original sports programming and likely include advertising — Turner is meeting with OTT distributors such as Roku, Amazon and Apple. The conversations are centered on using data to grow subscribers across the different platforms, Mirgorod said.

Turner has also been meeting with streaming skinny-bundle providers such as DirecTV Now, Hulu live TV and YouTube TV, Mirgorod said.

“They’re all significant players now because they have real [subscribers],” said Mirgorod. “At one point, we were afraid that the providers would take away market share [from linear], but it ended up expanding the market.”

CBS, meanwhile, has been pitching marketers on the national-level scale that its existing OTT products already have. CBS All Access has more than 2 million subscribers, the company said. CBSN streams, meanwhile, were up 17 percent in 2017 over the previous year. (CBS wouldn’t say to what, though.)

“In years past, we’ve spent time talking about the specific consumers that were diving in early to the OTT market. This year is really has grown; we’re no longer just talking about the OTT consumer. There is so much internet video being delivered on devices to so many people of all age groups, we’re really now talking about ‘consumers’ in general,” said Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive. “We were fortunate to have been early in OTT through our CBS All Access and CBSN services, both of which have experienced tremendous growth since launch, and we are continuing to invest in this space, in these services, their content and new services we will bring to market.”

Overall, CBS did “hundreds of millions” in OTT-related revenue last year, according to a source. Hulu’s ad revenue, meanwhile, surpassed $1 billion for the first time last year, the company said.

read more here: digiday.com

TiVo: 20% of time spent consuming video

According to findings from entertainment technology and audience insights specialist TiVo, the average global viewer spends 4.4 hours each day watching video. Coupled with the global average of 28 minutes spent each day searching for content to watch, that is nearly five hours per day of video engagement, which amounts to 20 per cent of daily life, building à la carte entertainment experiences that work best for them.

The company’s annual multi-country Global Consumer Trends study explores viewer engagement with the video content, services and devices that shape the evolving consumer entertainment experience.

The study also found that about 90 per cent of households are currently paying for traditional pay-TV service. However, more than 60 per cent are also subscribing to streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

In the US, more than 50 per cent of pay-TV subscribers have been with their service for four years or more. Subscribers with the shortest tenure are also the least dependable: more than 10 per cent of those who have subscribed to cable for a year or less say they’re very likely to cut the cord in the next six months.

It’s not just the amount of content that has exploded in the last few years. People now have more screens than ever at their disposal to watch their favourite videos. Nowhere is this truer than in Latin America, where 50 per cent of all viewing now takes place on a digital device other than a television set, according to the study. By way of comparison, viewers in the US say that more than 75 per cent of their video consumption still occurs on their TV.

“Consumers today are acting as their own aggregator, piecing together what they need from a variety of video service and device combinations to suit their individual needs,” said Paul Stathacopoulos, vice president, Strategy, TiVo. “Success in this new environment will not be about a single content source monopolising the living room, instead it will be about adapting the business model to deliver value, integrated services and personalisation to meet the evolving consumer needs.”

read more here: advanced-television.com

Sports Streaming Shakeup in the Cord Cutting Era

The exodus of viewers from television sets to mobile devices has opened the door for new players to get involved in the sports broadcasting industry. Cord cutting is impacting how companies broadcast sports to national audiences and is creating opportunities for new organizations to take part in the action.

This is particularly visible with the National Football League, the sports league with the most fans and the highest revenue in the United States, and its expansion into live streaming across different platforms. Amazon, ESPN and Verizon are examples of companies trying to get ahead of their competition in the space. Amazon paid the NFL $50 million to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games in 2017 and ESPN and NBC Sports expanded their Monday Night and Sunday Night Football streaming rights for mobile; Verizon announced the biggest deal, a $2.5 billion non-exclusive agreement with the NFL to expand their current streaming offerings. Kicking off in 2018, the new partnership allows Verizon to stream playoff games, including the Super Bowl, and in-market games to fans on Verizon websites, like Yahoo, AOL and Go90.

While there have been a number of companies pioneering sports live streaming products, none have been able to deliver a frustration-free product that cord cutting sports viewers can rally behind. Entire games can be ruined by missing an exciting play or seeing a social media post of an updated score that beats the delayed “live” stream feed. With the largest NFL broadcasting rights with Fox, CBS and NBC expiring in 2022, the pioneers of sports streaming can further capitalize on the growing number of cord cutters, and consequently, on huge advertising dollars. They first, however, need to deliver a quality product that fans will want to tune into.

In talking about all these streaming rights deals, it’s vital to understand how sports fans really feel about live-streamed games. A recent studyfound that nearly three quarters of viewers expect bad service when they live stream a sports game. Latency – delays, poor picture quality and buffering – is the root of the issue. In fact, the study also found that 63 percent of viewers are reluctant to sign up or re-subscribe to sports live streaming platforms in 2018, indicating that streaming issues aren’t just a pesky inconvenience – they’re resulting in tangible business detriments. Thirty-four percent would even think about cancelling the services giving them issues.

Verizon has positioned its offerings for free viewing platforms – Yahoo, AOL and go90, so subscriber dollars are not a concern. It’s aiming to attract as many viewers as possible, allowing them to tune in for free, and therefore reap the advertising revenue of a large viewer-base, which comes straight from the television playbook. Even with the free offering though, the high advertising revenue won’t be possible for Verizon if its live stream has latency problems, as people will turn elsewhere to watch the game. Latency is plaguing the live sports streaming industry and even if subscriber revenue isn’t a concern, advertising dollars will be impacted.

Real-Time is the Solution

There’s still time for streaming providers to course correct – by investing in a solution that delivers real-time streams at scale. As it currently stands, if it’s live it’s too late, but real-time ensures sub-second latency, so that streams can keep up with the game. And real-time brings about greater potential for fan engagement. According to the research, fans are looking for multi-screen experiences, the ability to interact and talk with players and coaches, and feel like they’re a journalist with an insider view into press conferences. All of these experiences are possible with live streaming, but only if the sports stream is being delivered in real-time and becomes truly live. For the likes of Verizon and others in the streaming space, this means they would have more people tuning in, and more engaged, loyal viewers.

read more here: www.thevideoink.com

News UK finds domain spoofing causes $1 million a month in lost revenue

To investigate the level of domain spoofing occurring against its news brands, News UK conducted a programmatic blackout test for two hours in December. The result: 2.9 million bids per hour were made on fake inventory purporting to be News UK’s The Sun and The Times of London newspaper brands.

From the results, the publisher estimates that marketers are wasting £700,000 ($950,000) on domain-spoofed inventory per month. A total of 650,000 ad requests were made each hour, according to the publisher.

The publisher conducted the test between 3a.m. and 5 a.m. on Dec. 4, deliberately choosing a time that would be less disruptive to site visitors and wouldn’t hamper revenues or ongoing campaigns. The publisher shut down all programmatic advertising on its sites, including all supply-side platforms, its header bidding wrapper and all networks. During this time, it was impossible to buy programmatic inventory on The Sun, the Times or News UK’s fantasy football brand Dream Team. That made it easy to isolate inventory that still appeared to be offered on its sites as fraudulent.

The publisher wouldn’t name the SSPs, but The Sun’s partners include Google AdX, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, Index Exchange, PubMatic and Amazon’s A9, according to its ads.txt file. The Times’ ads.txt file lists Google AdX, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, Index Exchange, PubMatic, Kargo.com, OpenX and Sovrn. For the test, News UK chose to focus on inventory bought via its six biggest SSP suppliers.

The 2.9 million impressions were found to be across two specific SSPs, though one of those two had significantly higher fraudulent inventory within it, according to Ben Walmsley, digital commercial director for News UK, though he wouldn’t specify their names. The other partner showed some fraudulent activity, although mainly through three network vendors selling inventory that appeared to be from News UK titles. Two of the SSPs were totally clean, and the remaining two haven’t yet provided their data logs to the News UK team for that two-hour window, according to the publisher.

Most of the fraudulent inventory discovered was display, although there was also evidence of spoofed video inventory. The Times is a subscriptions title and doesn’t sell any pre-roll ads, let alone programmatically, so any video inventory purporting to be from the Times is fraudulent. The Financial Times also saw this occur across its own video inventory when it conducted its own domain-spoofing investigation.

“We wanted to expose where brands are being tricked into thinking they’re buying quality inventory, bidding on what they think is a premium site when it isn’t,” Walmsley said.

News UK has been in close contact with the SSPs, all of which have been cooperative and responsive, according to Walmsley. No deadline for removing the fraudulent inventory has been set for the SSP found to be carrying the most on its platform. Walmsley stressed the publisher wants to remain on good terms with its tech vendors and that it’s only by cultivating strong relationships with vendors, brand partners and agencies that fraudsters can be rooted out. “We’re all victims in one way or another,” he said. “If the SSPs hadn’t taken it seriously, then it might have been different, but they were very keen to address it.”

read more here: digiday.com