Building your audience and monetization of online video content is of huge importance to making it a sustainable business. A video player needs to enable an immersive viewer experience by supporting full customisation, delivering the content fast to every device in the best possible quality. So, why is it important to support TV-style monetization? Perhaps the most obvious reason is: Broadcasters will understand and also TV planners within media agencies. Although online advertising is ubiquitous these days, still lots of people in the media industry do not understand how it works. Therefore, it helps if things work the same. (Do not mention GRPs!)

The other reason for TV-style advertising is: viewers will understand as well. Still most people are used to watching TV and therefore used to watching Ad breaks. Preserving a positive user experience is critical. So, it helps if Ads or commercial breaks are where people expect them. This is in fact what TV-style advertising is all about, making it possible to have commercial breaks in online video.

Content providers push long-form programs online in order to generate additional revenues. Long form content leans itself for serving multiple Ads in one break. Of course, one could argue that a lot of people hate advertising, but at the same time they do understand that good quality content has a value. Because people are used to this form of advertising, an increase in the number of Ads does not appear to be affecting the viewer experience yet.

Technically, the way to create flexible commercial breaks is using Ad pods to serve the so-called mid-roll advertisements. The IAB VAST 3.0 template introduced the concept of Ad Pods. This allows the online publisher to serve Ads dynamically and decide to for example serve two Ads in one break and three in another. Multiple <ad> elements are basically sequenced together in and played back-to-back in a singular Ad break.

ad pods

 

Ad Pods specify this and are configured from VAST 3.0 compliant Ad networks and passed to the THEOplayer. The value of these “sequence” attributes must be a number indicating the order in which they should be played (i.e. “1” for the ad that should play first). For an example, see §2.3.5.3 in the Video Ad Serving Template 3.0 of IAB.