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Video: Can Standards Make the Ad Ecosystem Easier to Manage?
Bitmovin's Stefan Lederer discusses ad-insertion standards and how to deploy them in this clip from Streaming Media West.
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Watch Stefan Lederer's full presentation from Streaming Media West, Next-Generation Advertising Workflows and Server-Side Ad Insertion with VAST 4.0, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Stefan Lederer: To make better ad experiences and basically to make the whole ecosystem, the whole deployment landscape, a little bit easier to manage, from an ad standards perspective, especially for the publisher's side, we have simple standards like VAST, but we have also more complex standards like VPAID, which enable really nice user interaction with interactive ads, as they are called. Basically adding additional overlays and context to ads, which are perfect for websites, but challenging for OTT devices.

So when we go into VPAID, for example, that's a standard that started with Flash and now moved over to Java Script. You need to go away Flash nowadays. Flash gets blocked by more and more browsers, and you are losing ad revenue by not switching to HTML5. That's the most important thing to consider. Everybody who's still on Flash has to move, otherwise, basically impressions are lost, and ad revenues are lost.

And that's a big thing for the ad industry in general. As mentioned, progressive MP4s are still a main topic. HLS is still new to the industry, and HLS itself as a streaming format is changing. MPEG-2 transport stream is a container format that replaced the ISO Base Media File Format. And that breaks a lot of ad use cases, because MPEG-2 transfer stream has ID3 text inside, which I will talk about later versus ISO Base Media File Format, has a similar concept, but that's not yet part of the HLS spec. So that's kind of an interesting challenge to face.

From a VAST type we've currently an in-market standard, VAST 3, and we have a newly released standard. It's already nearly 2 years old, which hasn't reached the market yet. For VAST 3, basically, it's mainly designed for publishers, but not what we need in the OTT space, unfortunately. As mentioned typically progressive MP4s and a lot of nice features, but what we actually need for OTT is something that matches the technology base that we see in the field for OTT streaming services. And that includes ready-to-serve quality layers. Basically, HLS representation of the app, and they can select the quality layers that match-make existing and coding layer.

Another part that's really, really important to provide extremely nice streaming performance and experience are the mezzanine files. So what can do now with my ads is I can transcode them in the same bitrate ladder and configuration as my content is served. And that's pretty nice because then you don't have any quality differences between your ad and your main content.

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