Hitchhiker's Guide to Streaming Media: Advertising Systems

>>>Lookup: Advertising systems for streaming media

There are a number of business models that drive a demand for a variety of advertising systems in use today with streaming media on the web. To understand the technologies, one must understand the solutions they are trying to provide; to do that, we first must look at the business requirements of advertising systems.

There are two schools of thinking in the advertising online world:
• Traditional advertising models migrating to a new media
• New advertising models emerging from within new media

The distinctions are marked by some of the following situations.

Traditional Advertising Models
Traditional models typically evolve from a media sales relationship between a content provider who has a target demographic that matches the target demographic of the advertiser. They may have been working for a long time on the sponsorship of a particular production which has traditionally been focused on television or radio broadcast; for example, a company has always sponsored a large live sporting event. Their adverts were traditionally run during regular “interstitial” advert breaks interspersed during the live event coverage.

Because many production companies work closely with rights holders and sponsors, as they have begun to explore additional productions for the internet they have continued to work with their known partners. This has led to the branded web pages and “in stream” advertising seen in webcasts and web archives as part of the production and in many ways emulating the TV/radio models. There is a subtle difference, largely because there is little in the way of advertising standards and regulations on the Internet: We see live webcasts sponsored by single large brands, or single major partners, and see very little other branding or advertising content during such a broadcast (other than that of the large brand or major partner). In some ways this makes the quality of the transmission paramount to the single sponsor and there is only a cautious ‘toe-dipping’ by such brands.

The currency of these types of advertising is intrinsically measured by the success of the video or audio distribution: An audience of 4,000 watching a particular sports event gives the advertiser 4,000 end-user impressions.

New Advertising Models
The new models have emerged from ad models that have been seen to work on static web pages, so these are more based on the interactive (lean-forward) nature of internet use. For example, splash screens which popup a promotion as you enter a site, or banner ads surrounding the content you actually want, or even floating transient adverts which appear over the top of the content you actually want and require active dismissal or a time period to pass before they disappear and allow you to consume that content. These adverts are usually less related to the content of the page you are on, and the adverts seen by one user may be different to the adverts for another user.

These have largely been built on web-banner-ad models: So each time a page or a stream loads, a call to an ad campaign management software is made which returns details of which ad to present. As that ad loads it separately sends a message to the ad tracking company (in effect an independent auditor, trusted by the ad provider, and often effectively managing the sale of media space) who logs the advert placement. The reports are then collated periodically and the advertiser pays a fee known as a CPM for every thousand adverts served.

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