AWS Media Blog

Create broadcast-quality CTV advertising with the Imagine Communications SureFire video ad server on AWS

This blog was co-authored by Dan Murray, Product Marketing Manager, Imagine Communications, and Raul Vecchione, Senior Partner Solutions Architect, AWS.

With shifting market dynamics, streaming connected TV (CTV) services are becoming increasingly ad supported. To optimize the monetization of ad-supported streaming, media companies are looking to effectively deploy and use addressable advertising solutions that facilitate audience targeting and support regionalization for efficient inventory use through a scalable and agile architecture. TV advertisers, which have growing expectations for ad placement control and the broadcast quality of linear TV, might withhold their campaigns from streaming services that do not offer the same level of control.

What if addressable CTV monetization had the same best practices as linear TV?

When media companies enhance addressable monetization by using the same controls as linear TV, advertisers can be comfortable running the same campaigns across linear TV and CTV, resulting in a common experience for the advertiser, publisher, and viewer. And of course, more advertisers results in more revenue for media companies.

SureFire, a new cloud-native video ad server built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) by AWS Partner Imagine Communications, is designed for addressable CTV and includes the controls, rules, and quality to provide a linear-like experience. Examples of linear-like control include content rules and restrictions, competitive separation, frequency controls, and maximum views, as well as the program schedule and content knowledge to facilitate TV-quality ad decisions on a per-viewer basis.

SureFire operates on AWS, and this blog post describes how to deploy it with AWS Elemental MediaTailor, a channel assembly and personalized ad insertion service, to provide a scalable, addressable CTV monetization solution with the benefit of linear-like ad decisioning control.

Advertising workflows from orders to addressable ad insertion for CTV

Today, most ad sales for large media companies are directly sold, and ad campaigns enter automated workflows through order management systems (OMSs) and ad management systems (traffic). At Imagine Communications, the ad management platforms support linear and digital video, providing a path for media companies to expand their ad workflows to include CTV and addressable linear TV.

By unifying their linear and addressable ad workflows, media companies can gain significant benefits by aggregating, selling, and fulfilling across entire audiences. By managing campaigns across linear and digital, media companies can fulfill any linear audience audiences to eliminate make-goods. Converging ad management can also improve operations with common sales, ad management, rules, reporting, and billing—reducing systems and complexity for both sellers and buyers.

SureFire video ad server uses open APIs to ingest demand (ad orders and campaigns), business rules, copy information, and advanced schedule and content information. For most media companies, this will come from their OMS or ad management platform. SureFire also ingests first- and third-party audience data plus internet protocol geographical data to deliver targeted ad campaigns.

As viewers watch CTV, MediaTailor identifies upcoming addressable ad break opportunities in the video manifest, sending ad decision requests to SureFire by using Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) for live channels or Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP) for video-on-demand (VOD) streams. SureFire uses the audience data, session history, schedule and content information, business rules, geographical data, device information, and ad demand to respond with an optimized set of ads per viewer. MediaTailor then stitches the manifest with the addressable ads to provide a seamless viewer experience.

While this article has focused on unified ad management across linear TV and addressable CTV, similar workflows support FAST channels, linear-parity, or the addition of programmatic inventory

SureFire uses the scale, elasticity, and flexibility of AWS. For example, its cloud-native architecture uses the following to achieve consistent sub-100 ms ad decision response times at scale:

Using AWS, SureFire can provide an environment for addressable advertising of CTV services that can automatically scale to match the audience size.

As a result, media companies can deploy SureFire in the cloud to provide addressable monetization of CTV services with the same quality as linear TV—but with per-audience targeting and personalization—to provide a broadcast-quality experience for advertisers, publishers, and viewers.

About Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications is an AWS Partner and provides a media software platform for linear and nonlinear playout, content supply chain management, next-generation advertising management, and addressable advertising for the global media and entertainment industry. If you would like to learn more about its solution SureFire, please visit here.

Learn more about Imagine Communications

Raul Vecchione

Raul Vecchione

Raul Vecchione is a media technology visionary with more than 15 years of experience leading the design and conceptualization of broadcast and cloud media streaming solutions for small and top organizations. Raul specializes in providing strategic technical expertise and business support to penetrate target markets, enhance competitive product positioning, and facilitate engagement between strategic partners in the media & entertainment industry.