What is AWS Elemental MediaTailor?
AWS Elemental MediaTailor is a content personalization and monetization service that allows video providers to serve targeted ads to end users while maintaining broadcast quality-of-service in multiscreen video applications. With AWS Elemental MediaTailor, advertising is inserted upstream before video delivery, on the server side; so a continuous stream arrives at the consumer device, eliminating the possibility of discrimination between content and commercials. Ads are better monetized, maintain video quality that consistently matches the primary content, and are simpler to manage across multiplatform environments. AWS Elemental MediaTailor offers managed transcoding of ad content to provide the best end-user experience while also enabling standards-based client- and server-side ad reporting within a single service. Customers are given full control over the player, origin, and CDN while providing the highest-quality viewer experience.

Who can use AWS Elemental MediaTailor?
AWS Elemental MediaTailor is designed to meet the needs of all types of video providers. Video is increasingly important to companies from small businesses to global enterprises, as well as government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and schools, all of which can use AWS Elemental MediaTailor to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their video operations. Companies in the media and entertainment industry, including film and TV studios, broadcast networks, pay TV channels and system operators, programming distributors, internet service providers, online video platforms, and professional sports leagues and teams, can all benefit from AWS Elemental MediaTailor as part of their broadcast, streaming, and over-the-top video offerings.

 

What challenges does AWS Elemental MediaTailor solve?
Traditional approaches to ad insertion for OTT video can limit the ability of publishers to fully monetize their content in a number of ways. They fail to scale to peaks in live streaming, deliver inconsistent ad reporting metrics, or limit customers to specific CDNs or origin server vendors. Often, by pulling advertising from different networks, client-side solutions fall short of providing the broadcast-grade quality of service that users expect of their viewing experience; moreover, they lose a significant percentage of advertising impressions to ad blocking. AWS Elemental MediaTailor addresses the challenges of personalizing advertising for viewers and accurately reporting ad impressions across devices while mitigating ad blockers, allowing publishers to maximize the monetization potential of their OTT video. It does so without compromising video quality and while scaling to meet the demands of high profile live streaming use cases. AWS Elemental MediaTailor also maintains flexibility for customers as it is agnostic to HTTP CDNs and origin server providers and offers a simple pay-as-you-go pricing model with no up-front costs or commitments.

Why should I use AWS Elemental MediaTailor over other server-side ad insertion solutions?
Other server-side ad insertion solutions typically do not provide detailed client-side viewing metrics. Server-side solutions generally report on CDN server logs of requests to ad servers, which doesn’t offer the granularity of client-based viewing metrics that advertisers require. Other solutions may require SDK or specific player integration to handle server-side stitched manifests. In contrast, AWS Elemental MediaTailor does not require specific player or SDK integration to work. In addition, AWS Elemental MediaTailor makes callbacks to a common endpoint for both content and ads rather than known ad serving entities, bypassing ad blocking strategies.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor uses client request information in real-time to communicate with ad decision servers and dynamically generates personalized manifests and ad content. And with AWS Elemental MediaTailor, there is no need for customers to scale origin infrastructure to cope with delivering personalized manifests.

Why should I use AWS Elemental MediaTailor over other client-side ad insertion solutions?
Client-side ad insertion solutions are susceptible to ad blocking and can deliver poor playback quality. As most client-side ad blockers work by blacklisting known ad serving domain names, video clients can end up skipping ad segments entirely, jeopardizing business models that rely on ad revenue from internet-delivered video offerings. AWS Elemental MediaTailor delivers ads in a way that makes ads indistinguishable from content for a seamless viewing experience.

Video providers want viewers to experience the same playback quality as traditional broadcast TV. However, since ads are served by external ad decision services with their own encoders, video processing pipeline, and CDN, it’s impossible for client-side ad insertion solutions to ensure ads match the format of the content. This results in increased rebuffer rates and discontinuous transitions from content to ads and back as clients retrieve ads on a best-effort basis.

In other cases, customers wish to ensure that advertisements are compliant with the latest technology regulations such as audio loudness levels. Providers try to solve these issues by preprocessing and preloading ads while working with numerous ad decision services or directly with advertisers, resulting in scaling challenges as the number of ad decision servers and permutations of ad formats increases. AWS Elemental MediaTailor overcomes each of these challenges by pulling down mezzanine-quality assets from ad decision servers and transcoding assets on the fly to the same specifications as the primary content stream. As a result, viewers enjoy the same seamless experience from internet-delivered video as traditional broadcast TV.

How does AWS Elemental MediaTailor simplify my advertising workflow?
Since the same video processing pipeline is used for content and for ads, there is no need to orchestrate complicated ad signaling between the origin server, manifest manipulation service, and ad decision server. In the past, customers had to implement client library changes across all of their supported devices as new video formats, ad insertion specs, or compliance standards emerged. With AWS Elemental MediaTailor, customers can use the same ad insertion workflow to reach all devices, eliminating the need to make custom changes across all client applications to account for new standards.

How does AWS Elemental MediaTailor enable content personalization?
Video content publishers have more information in OTT environments about their end viewer’s demographic profile, viewing habits, and other relevant data than traditional broadcast TV. This allows for increased rates for advertising spots. However, traditional server-side ad insertion solutions don’t typically communicate with and use client device information when stitching together ads and content, for two reasons: one, they rely on proprietary extensions to pass through client information to ad servers, resulting in communications failures between different implementations and services, and two, ad personalization not only decreases the ability to cache the manifest file, but also greatly increases compute resources required for rewriting manifest files and transcoding unique ad content on-the-fly. Unlike those solutions, AWS Elemental MediaTailor uses the VAST standard when interfacing with external ad servers, while scaling compute resources for manifest manipulation, transcoding, and delivery occurs automatically using the elastic AWS Cloud.

How does AWS Elemental MediaTailor enable accurate reporting of viewing behavior across devices?
Both advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) call for granular playback metrics that are measured from end-viewer devices. This requires clients to make numerous HTTP requests to tracking URLs managed by external ad servers as ads are played back. This beacon information allows impressions to be rewarded based on quartile (25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent) of an ad video that has been played.

By default, AWS Elemental MediaTailor reports these metrics from the server-side without additional integration efforts required. AWS Elemental MediaTailor also provides a client API endpoint to identify when ad content is playing and can be used to implement client-side ad reporting as well as advanced player features to stop scrubbing during ad break, or ad duration countdowns.

How does AWS Elemental MediaTailor improve my viewers’ experience when watching my content?
AWS Elemental MediaTailor has a transcode service that works to ensure there are no jarring discontinuities in aspect ratio, resolutions, and video bitrate for transitions between ads and content during playback. AWS Elemental MediaTailor uses standard VAST and VMAP responses from ad servers to pull down a high-quality version of the ad asset and provisions real-time transcoding and packaging resources to format it to the same video and audio parameters as your content.

Is AWS Elemental MediaTailor a standalone service or is it dependent on other services?
AWS Elemental MediaTailor can function as a standalone service or within a larger video workflow that includes other AWS Media Services. AWS Media Services are a family of services that form the foundation of cloud-based video workflows, which offer customers the capabilities they need to create, package, and deliver video, all accessible through the AWS Management Console. Working together with other AWS services, AWS Media Services offer a complete solution for processing and delivery of live or on-demand video content to consumers around the world, cost efficiently and with high quality.

Can I use AWS Elemental MediaTailor with on-premises deployments?
AWS Elemental MediaTailor's manifest manipulation and other other services run in AWS, but can access any origin server hosted on-premises and accesible over HTTP. AWS Elemental MediaTailor itself is an AWS cloud service.

Can I use my own CDN with AWS Elemental MediaTailor?
Yes, AWS Elemental MediaTailor is CDN agnostic.

Can I use my own origin server for AWS Elemental MediaTailor?
Yes, AWS Elemental MediaTailor works with origin servers that are accessible over HTTP and can produce manifests decorated with CUE-IN and CUE-OUT ad markers. Visit AWS Elemental MediaTailor Documentation pages for more information.

How is AWS Elemental MediaTailor billed?
Pricing for AWS Elemental MediaTailor is based on the number of ads inserted. If 1000 people are viewing a stream and there are 5 ads in an ad break, you would be charged for 5000 ad insertions. 10 free ad creative transcodes are included per 1000 ad insertions. Visit the AWS Elemental MediaTailor Pricing page for more information.

How many channels do I need to use AWS Elemental MediaTailor?
There is no minimum or limit to the number of channels supported by AWS Elemental MediaTailor. As pricing is pay as you go, with no minimum commitment and based on ad insertion, there is no penalty of running just one channel. Equally, if there are hundreds of channels or channels with huge expected peaks in concurrent views, AWS Elemental MediaTailor will automatically scale.