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Time is Money: the hidden revenue potential of time-shifted viewing

How can targeted advertising make time-shifted viewing a revenue source for TV operators and broadcasters?

Blog banner_1200x600px_VO+Broadpeak_no text (003)One of the big changes in viewing patterns over recent years has been the move to time-shifted TV (TSTV), where users are watching linear broadcasted content via on demand cloud PVR services such as catch-up (replay) and network recording (NPVR). This is reflected by data coming from across the globe, clearly outlining the massive extent and continuous growth of this viewing trend.

By way of example, time-shifted broadcast television is watched for an average 30 minutes per day in the UK, 15.6% of the total figure, US audiences watch 3:27 hours a week, measured against to 26:05 hours of live TV, and in France, in 2019, 7.8 million French people used a catch-up service to watch programmes,13% more than in 2017. It is very probable that these figures have only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the amount of time-shifted television watched has increased, so the technology behind time-shift has evolved too, from VHS to PVR and now on to cloud PVR solutions, - such as the one developed by Broadpeak. What has not changed is the viewers desire to use time-shift to skip the commercials in a program nor the loss of revenue to the broadcaster that this results in. 

What is new, though, is that there are now ways to address the viewers desire in an enhanced and more elegant solution then simply by pushing the fast-forward button. What’s more, this can be done while still avoiding the revenue loss associated with TSTV. The key is adopting new targeted advertising technologies which are capable of offering a fresh monetization path. 

With the right target advertising technology in place and a hybrid approach that combines client and server side ad replacement and insertion for maximum scale and reach, operators can present the viewers TSTV content with a reduced amount of new targeted ads or without any ads, at all. And this can be done without re-encoding the content. 

This level of control provides the operators flexibility to offer more than one level of pricing for TSTV services based on the frequency of ads that are being presented to the user. This opens up the revenue opportunity being successfully pursued with the roll out of new tiered AVOD services at the moment in the USA and elsewhere. Services such as Peacock, for example, are giving consumers the choice of paying monthly subscriptions for ad free services or paying nothing and seeing the ads. There is also the opportunity for more tiers to be inserted between these two ends of the spectrum. This is a powerful proposition. A survey earlier this year suggested that 53% of people would be open to watching ads if that would help reduce the price of the service.

The beauty of this solution is there is no dependency on the original ad break slot and ads can be inserted as if in VOD content without re-encoding the recorded stream 

Of course, the industry standard pre-roll ads are still available, meaning that the overall inventory is increased. There is also an opportunity around event-based advertising. Event-based means triggering ad insertion whenever viewers take certain actions, such as fast forward, pause, resume, etc. These have been successfully used by MVPDs such as Hulu, partly as the high CPM promise around event based advertising comes from the fact that advertisers can be 100% sure that the viewer is in front of the screen. 

A winning formula

This is a win all round.

For broadcasters, it provides the ability to further monetize content after transmission — alongside offering advertisers highly rewarding audience segmentation. This is definitely a major win and a key attraction point gaining increased momentum across the industry. 

As well as being able to increase their inventory, it enables operators to further extend the valuable advertising slots offered to advertisers, opening up the potential for further revenue growth. And it manages this without alienating viewers with low ad tolerances.

In addition, as part of a cloud-based service, there is no need for investment in costly on-prem or domestic equipment for subscribers, and this service can be rolled out, just as a normal cloud PVR would be, as part of opex spending. Indeed, by opening up a new monetisation stream it actually allows operators to offer viewers more features and services at the same price or lower their tier pricing.

And what about advertisers? 

With a steadily growing percentage of viewers watching time-shifted television, this audience segment has proven difficult for targeting up until now. Being able to book targeted advertising for time-shifted viewing, either as pre-roll or one of the conventional program mid-roll slots, they can ensure greater reach for their advert.

Unlike with recordings made on home equipment, they can also make sure their ads are being watched. Pre-roll in particular is often played out as unskippableby the major SVOD providers and has reached a certain level of consumer acceptance With event-based they can be doubly certain that the viewer is in front of the screen.

And finally, the ability to extend campaigns into the catch-up window empowers high flexibility, enabling real-time campaigns optimization, for maximum revenue growth.  

Will viewers approve? With viewers having to watch many less ads than before through targeted advertising services, while being increasingly engaged with the ones they do see, both relevance and lower ad load work to improve user experiences and subsequent retention rates.

Add the ability to be able to pay for an ad free service by pivoting towards a paid subscription (and various different options in-between), not to mention the cloud PVR service in itself, and you have a valuable offering that can increase viewer stickiness and reduce churn, as well as work to improve the GDPR opt-in rate.

Monetizing time-shifted viewing - an all in one solution

Following our experience delivering a powerful new cloud-PVR service for Orange Poland last year, Broadpeak and VO are now offering a pre-integrated, monetization ready solution that combines broadcaster grade cloud PVR services with targeted TV advertising on top of any service delivery platform.

  • VO's powerful new targeted TV Advertising solution provides a full-stack programmatic infrastructure and innovative TV data segmentation tools, that translating viewers’ usage data to highly valuable segments to advertisers. The solution also includes personalisation features to increase viewing time, which translates to more opportunities to present ads and more accurate data and actionable analytics around TV and the ad business. This allows broadcasters to optimize and balance the revenues from advertising and subscriptions.
  • The solution is integrated with Broadpeaks CloudPVR solution, which includes the BkM100 video delivery mediator that acts as the recordings manager and the BkS350 origin packager to ingest and record ABR live streams. The BkS350 also records live content in one video format and then packages and encrypts it on the fly in any ABR format, providing impressive storage savings. 

Ultimately, though, while the technology behind it is interesting, its the opportunity for maximizing revenue thats really exciting about this solution, while it is equally inspiring that not only can operators follow  their viewers into the catch-up windows, but advertisers can target them within it. And viewers can even pay and choose to have a premium ad-free experience.

All and all, it is a powerful way to unlock the possibilities of cloud PVR for all concerned.

Dror Mangel and Cyrille Schwab

Dror Mangel is a Senior Product Manager, AI & Data Solutions Domain. Prior to joining Viaccess-Orca he gained business development and product management experience from leading startups in Israel’s ‘Start-up Nation’, working with many global Fortune 500 customers. He is an expert in data-driven solution and is driven by data and a passion for creating B2C + B2B products from their early ideation stages to commercial launch, always focusing on the market's needs. He holds a Bs.C. in Industrial Engineering and Management from Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and is currently working towards an MBA from Tel Aviv University.

Cyrille Schwab is Broadpeak's Product Line Manager covering the topics of video delivery and content personalization solutions. He's in charge of the Video Delivery Mediator and Ad Insertion products. Prior to joining Broadpeak, Cyrille led several product management positions within major companies delivering video processing solutions such as Grass Valley , Envivio or Ericsson. His 20-year career in the field of video delivery and his strong technical understanding of video components has given him a holistic view into the video market, allowing him to identify industry’s trends and opportunities. He holds a master degree of engineering from IFSIC Rennes in France.