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SCTE 35-based dynamic ad insertion for live streaming with Unified Origin and AWS Elemental MediaTailor

Guest authored by: Unified Streaming

The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

By combining Unified Streaming’s Unified Origin for Live with AWS Elemental MediaTailor for server-side ad insertion, you can do DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion) for live OTT streams. This new solution is based on standard industry practices and relies on SCTE 35 markers to signal advertisement opportunities that MediaTailor uses to dynamically insert ads.

This new video monetization solution is the result of Unified Streaming and AWS Elemental engineers working closely together to integrate Unified Origin with AWS Elemental MediaTailor. The collaboration simplifies live stream monetization for existing Unified Origin customers who can now turn to MediaTailor to start receiving ad revenue.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor offers flexibility of implementation, a big advantage compared to alternatives that offer similar DAI solutions. Instead of enforcing an end-to-end closed ecosystem for ads, MediaTailor allows you the freedom to work with an ADS (Ad Decision Server) of your own choosing, enhancing the control you have over your monetization strategy and technical architecture.

MediaTailor’s server-side ad insertion offers improved viewer experience by matching ad quality to the existing content stream, removing buffering and providing a broadcast-grade quality of viewing experience. Since ads are stitched into the stream before the media is delivered to the client (video player), a high quality viewer experience is achieved with no differentiation between original content and ads.

A benefit of pairing Unified Origin with AWS Elemental MediaTailor is reducing complexity for the player that runs on the end-user device. They are no longer responsible for requesting and inserting the ads. Any player that works in a standards-based video streaming setup should work when DAI is implemented. This makes it easier to deliver an ad supported streaming service to the widest possible audience and range of devices.

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The SCTE 35 markers, that DAI for live streams relies on to signal ad opportunities, are standards based and widely used in the digital broadcast industry. They consist of metadata used to mark and signal information related to a certain timestamp or time range in a stream.

When adding DAI to a live streaming workflow, the DASH and HLS client manifests that Unified Origin generates are not served directly to the player on the end-user’s device. Although they could be used to play the stream, advertisements have not been inserted at this stage. With the DASH or HLS client manifests generated by Unified Origin as input, the ad insertion is completed by AWS Elemental MediaTailor’s manifest manipulation service.

MediaTailor inserts ads or other content at the points where Unified Origin has added the relevant SCTE 35 signaling. After ads are retrieved from the ADS, and transcoded to match the live stream, a reference to the ads is inserted into the manifest or playlist which is served to the end-user’s device. Then, in response to requests from the end-user’s device, Unified Origin will handle requests for media of the original stream, and ads are served by MediaTailor.

DAI with Unified Origin and AWS Elemental MediaTailor

SCTE 35-based Dynamic Ad Insertion workflow with AWS Elemental MediaTailor’s content replacement service and a CDN to cache and distribute the stream’s main content.

Customers can further enhance the monetization workflow by introducing a proxy server and a caching layer in front of both Unified Origin and MediaTailor to handle incoming requests, as well as one or more Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver the content as fast and efficiently as possible. Main content and ad content benefit from the caching that CDNs provide, and although the personalized manifest can not be cached, they can still benefit from the CDN’s efficient delivery.

Take it for a spin

If this short overview of dynamic ad insertion for live streaming has left you wanting more, you can check out Unified Streaming’s live demo to see a working example of the integration with AWS Elemental MediaTailor. Of course, you can also contact either AWS (use the contact us link, or live chat link on this page) or Unified Streaming directly to discuss any opportunities for implementing a DAI for live workflow in your own environment.

Kiran Patel

Kiran Patel

Kiran Patel is the Head of Product Marketing for Media Services and Media & Entertainment at AWS, responsible for product marketing for the AWS Elemental Media Services and Amazon IVS, helping customers learn how to utilize AWS and Media Services to build scalable, reliable, secure, and cost-effective media workflows. Prior to joining AWS, Kiran worked with the BBC on live streaming and VOD workflows for their News, Sport, and iPlayer products. He has over 20 years of experience working with OTT video.