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Unified Remix Combats Ad Blockers
Unified Remix is a software engine that creates a single stream from a playlist created by a call to an ad network, a rule set, or by CMS generation, preventing ad blockers from identifying ad server URLs
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Unified Streaming has launched Unified Remix, a solution to counteract ad blockers. Server-side ad insertion with Unified Remix can "significantly reduce lost impressions" claims Unified Streaming CTO Arjen Wagenaar.

"Ad blockers are browser plugins that have been configured to block known ad server URLs," he explains. "They are designed to notice when a playlist is edited and manipulated. When a browser makes an ad request, the ad blocker will simulate an error from the ad server, thereby effectively blocking the ad. With our solution, even if there's a trailer at the beginning, a bumper at the end of the video, and a mid-roll, the player will see a single stream, not one stitched from different origins. When presented  to a player the stream has a single origin and a single timeline and no discontinuity: there's no way for the player to differentiate between the main content and an ad bumper."

The software is a development of the Dutch company's Unified Origin module for industry standard webservers like Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, and Lighttpd. The plugin allows a web server to ingest one format (HLS, MP4, fMP4) and to package it on the fly to all formats, including HbbTV and progressive. It supports standard DRM schemes like Adobe Access, AES, Marlin, FairPlay, PlayReady, and Widevine and is in use among CDNs, media organisations, and video subscription service companies.

Unified Remix is essentially a software engine that resolves a playlist created by a call into an ad network, a rule set, or by CMS generation. It creates a reference MP4 file for Unified Origin to use as source. Unified Origin then creates a single stream from the reference MP4.

"While a playlist may be created by a player in JavaScript or via a player plugin, it can just as readily be done completely on the server side, removing all decision logic from the player," explains Wagenaar. "With Unified Remix, the playlist is based on a general ruleset defined, for example, in a CMS or by consulting a recommendation system or an ad network. The ad choice can be based on individual characteristics originating in the player or by associating content with a specific channel – allowing for targeted channels.

The product supports many use-cases, such as live-to-VOD (separating live ingest from playout);  live scheduling (rotating 24/7 playlists); pre-, mid-, post-roll (VoD); bumper for everyone (VOD and live); dynamic ad insertion VOD, and live dynamic ad replacement.

"Viewer information (e.g. session ID or cookie) can be used to personalise streams on any level," says Wagenaar. "From a personalised stream for every viewer to streams to groups of viewers (e.g. based on geolocation, subscription model) or even a single stream for all viewers (e.g. a bumper).

"A broadcaster wanting to serve catchup TV for live channels can create an archive-to-VOD (infinite live archive) which will dynamically change if the EPG changes. Creating a remixed stream opens new doors for content owners to monetize content but also offers new options for creating personalized streams of for instance live archives. Best of all, Unified Remix will create a stream that plays on all platforms in all formats and devices, and as such it provides a great multiplatform experience."

The product runs on an annual license per web server.