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Ad Supported Video on Demand – Best Practices from Canoe Service Assurance


Ad supported video on demand (AVOD) offers an exceptional reach extension to advertisers and with the help of diligent service assurance practices, can also offer a quality viewing experience for the consumer.

When Canoe launched its dynamic ad insertion product for cable set-top-box VOD in 2012, we thought the work we were doing might just lead the way for all AVOD premium video platforms.  Fast forward to 2019, and although consumer premium video choices are now plentiful, the viewing experience can often be inconsistent.  The same ad running too many times, choppy transitions in and out of an ad break, missing episodes in the guide, and long buffering times, all contribute to an inferior consumer experience. These unfortunately also create forecasting, planning, and delivery challenges for TV networks, MVPDs, and advertisers.

Over these past 7 years, Canoe has helped our TV network clients and MVPD partners create a more consistent consumer experience and a more manageable advertising business across our set-top-box footprint of 36 million households.  We do this through a collection of standards, techniques, and best practices we call Canoe Service AssuranceÔ.  And as our MVPD partners at Comcast, Cox, and Charter have started offering AVOD on other devices in addition to set-top-boxes, Canoe has adapted its service assurance offering to include more platforms and more devices.

The results demonstrate the importance of service assurance with the ad ecosystem. VOD ad campaigns running on a TV network utilizing Canoe’s Service Assurance deliver to the stated campaign impression goals with lower ad frequency, consistent ad transitions, complete title catalogues, expected ad loads, and reduced buffering delays.

When choosing the platforms and devices on which to run your AVOD ad campaigns, Canoe recommends the following best practices for creating a consistent consumer experience that is equal to or better than the speed and quality of Linear TV.

No Ad Frequency – Many TV network’s campaign management tools include an ad frequency-cap setting. The problem is that many advertisers and even sales people at the TV network may not be aware of this feature. Canoe recommends that both parties include frequency capping terms in their transactions to alleviate consumer overexposure.

No Choppy Ad Transitions – The problem of choppy transitions in and out of an ad break can be solved by proper break-point insertion and distribution. TV networks should make sure that the start point of any break is properly marked and distributed, and that those breaks be adjusted for the nuances of each MVPD platform.

No Missing Shows and/or Ads – Often assets are made available to an MVPD distributor, but for a host of reasons they may not play out. This can be solved by the TV Network confirming that the episode and ad assets have been successfully distributed throughout the platform.

No Inconsistent Ad Loads – It is important to create consistent ad loads across all platforms.  This provides reliable inventory management and enables accurate forecasting and delivery. TV networks should have a process in place that allow ad loads to easily scale up or scale down based on viewing behavior including network, series, episode, and fast forward functionality.

No Buffering Delay – This can occur whenever some of the above best practices and others are not followed.  Anytime the AVOD platform needs to spend even a millisecond to solve for friction in the platform, a delay in the video start can occur resulting in a poor consumer experience.

These are just a few of the items Canoe’s Service Assurance proactively catches every day.  Following these best practices will dramatically contribute to an exceptional viewing experience for consumers and a continued reach extension for advertisers across all AVOD platforms.

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