Kott: Abacast Aims at the Bullseye
author is senior vice president of products and marketing at
has been written lately about cloud-based services and the benefits
they are providing businesses and consumers. Abacast,
a provider of online audio streaming and monetization services since
2001, has recently released its “cloud-based ad insertion”
technology. Here is an overview of the technology and a few ideas
about how it can benefit the radio industry as it continues to invest
in digital delivery.
ad insertion enables live broadcasters to provide advertisers with
different ways to target audiences, no matter what player or device
those audiences are using to consume content.
CPM rates for targeted ads are typically 50-to-100 percent higher
than non-targeted ads, and because advertisers are only reaching the
audiences they desire, ad inventory tends to be much easier to sell.
cloud-based ad insertion, a user listening to a live stream can
receive a certain in-stream ad while a person listening to the same
live stream — on a different device in a different location, or of
a different age or gender — can receive a different ad, inserted
right into the same live programming.
audience targeting options include audience geo-location, player or
device, and any data that broadcasters collect about their audience,
such as age or gender or even favorite food. Examples of target
audiences that can be reached include “all smartphone listeners,”
“all listeners in the top 20 DMAs that are on desktops,” “all
listeners in the Eastern US regardless of device,” “all male
listeners in the 25–34 age range in a group of Zip codes,” “all
listeners listening on the TuneIn player,” “listeners in the
South who say they like ice cream” and of course many more.
cloud insertion, in-stream ads are inserted on the server side right
into the content and therefore sound like they are part of the
broadcast. When the encoding of the ads matches the content, it’s
virtually impossible to tell a broadcast ad from an inserted online
key aspect of cloud-insertion is that it utilizes what is called
delivery converts video or audio streams into discrete files that are
two-to-10 seconds in length and distributed using HTTP. The Internet
is built to deliver content via HTTP on a massive scale. Apple’s
HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)
are examples of chunk-based delivery implementations.
safe to say that all streaming will be moving to these “chunk-based”
technologies, opening up new possibilities for targeting, increased
revenue, decreased costs and more partnership opportunities.
TARGETING WITH NO CLIENT TARGETING CODE
with the exploding number of new mobile and other connected devices —
it feels like new gadgets come out every week — broadcasters can
serve targeted audio or video ads to these audiences immediately.
There is no lag time or development cost to create special targeting
code for the new device. Rather, targeting is supported immediately
through the player’s built-in HLS or HDS support.
REVENUE, LOWER COSTS
the revenue side, because advertisers pay more to reach the audiences
they want to reach, and because cloud-insertion provides the ability
to target discrete audiences, broadcasters will realize higher CPMs
and thus more overall revenue.
the cost side, because the content is distributed via standard HTTP,
any Content Delivery Network works as a conduit. Broadcasters can
shop for the best CDN based on price, reliability or other factors.
Currently Abacast’s cloud-insertion is used on three different CDNs
— Abacast’s, Amazon and Akamai — with more to come.
live streams now has the capability to be completely dynamic, based
on audience characteristics that include geo-location, device,
player, demographics and even the service that the listener uses
(i.e. aggregator, portal, media guide, etc.). Targeted cloud-based ad
insertion technologies will be an imperative driver for increased
revenue as we continue to see consumers using many different devices
to consume content at the time and place of their choosing.