Anevia returns to DAI roots, highlighting disappointing uptake

An element of frustration crept through during a recent webinar from Anevia as the French video technology vendor went back to its dynamic ad insertion (DAI) roots. We simply interpreted these qualms as a slow uptake of the not-so-modern phenomenon of targeted ads. So, what’s with the apparent dillydallying?

Only a disappointing 18.9% of webinar attendees confessed to having already deployed targeted ads, while a disconcerting additional 27% said they had no intention of incorporating targeted ads into their businesses in 2020. Thankfully, 54.1% of webinar attendees saw the light as they expect to deploy targeted ads at some point next year.

While the webinar kicked off with a pretty bog standard pros and cons comparison of client-side advertising insertion (CSAI) versus server-side ad insertion (SSAI), the more intriguing part came later in the webinar with CTO and co-founder Damien Lucas discussing how CDN resources can be reallocated to ad transcoding when not in use. This essentially draws available CPU on CDN cache servers but also takes spare bandwidth to transcode at edge servers, which he credited to the development of containerized technologies allowing for isolation of certain processes.

Our attention was drawn to Anevia’s DAI webinar as more recently we have come to associate the company as an ABR packaging supplier, complemented by its NEA-CDN which it has enhanced with technology from Streamroot, so it was intriguing to see Anevia again highlighting where it all began. We remember it as an advertising insertion system for regionalized satellite DTH TV, which as far as we know never got deployed. Then it was a fully-fledged IPTV middleware before becoming one of the best ABR packagers in the industry and encoding through its acquisition of Keepixo last year.

This goes back to that word containerized, with Anevia pitching a containerized and mostly cloud-based enhancement of the Keepixo Genova Live encoder using both CPU and GPU acceleration for 4K content, focusing on low latency for real-time linear channels.

Indeed, Anevia has recently been working with the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), citing results from a study which found rebuffering at the beginning of an ad break to be a serious sin for QoE. This can be avoided, it claims, by using the same origin platform for the original content and the advertising content, as well as using the same CDN for the original and ad content, i.e. as with the NEA-CDN.

Just a couple of weeks back, Mongolian telco SkyMedia completed the development of its new Sky Go OTT video service powered by Anevia’s origin-packager, encoder and CDN technology, technology which SkyMedia has been sourcing from Anevia since 2014.

It’s worth touching again just briefly on the toss-up between CSAI and SSAI. Immunity against ad blocking is by and large the standout pro of SSAI, as having ads delivered in a single stream means ad blocking software cannot detect where the ad is. But this comes at the detriment of offering different ad formats, as SSAI makes it “almost impossible” to insert banner ads or to integrate a skippable function, according to Lucas. Unless there was some exotic content recognition feature.

On the flip side, the main benefit of CSAI is the ease of deployment and integration coupled with the capability for full feature ad formats such as banner and skippable. As well as susceptibility to ad blockers, which are forecast to cost the industry $35 billion by 2020 according to Digiway data, CSAI methods are also criticized for poor UX with buffering issues.

Further results from mid-webinar polls showed that hybrid systems are a popular choice for monetizing ad placement opportunities, with 60% of attendees selecting a hybrid system, while just 17.1% chose connecting to a real-time bidding system and 22.9% said selling direct to advertisers was their preferred method.

Predictably, SSAI was the preferred model for ad insertion, for either current or future use, with a swing of 42.6% against the 21.3% of votes for CSAI. Given the heavy praise for SSAI during the webinar, a surprising 36.2% of those polled remained on the fence. It would have been interesting to ask this question before and after the webinar for comparison.

Rather poignantly and a fitting final note, the vast majority (71%) of those polled during this week’s webinar cited replacing linear ads as the most compelling opportunity for DAI, while 27% voted for VoD.