June 3, 2021
3 min. read
In today’s video streaming landscape – whatever the device type – it’s essential to deliver a premium Quality of Experience (QoE) to ensure your consumers remain fully engaged. This is true for the primary content in your service, but it's also true for inserted advertising content. By integrating SmartSight QoE and SmartSight Ads solutions with their service, A+E Networks is able to implement business improvement strategies around increasing engagement, and improving the yield of their ad revenue.
“The ability to gain granular insights across both content and ads was imperative, however, so was the ability to analyze them jointly as well as separately from within a single solution.”
~ John Cool, Vice President, Digital Media, A+E Networks, New York.
Integrating SmartSight QoE and SmartSight Ads
A+E Networks, is a joint venture between Hearst Communications and The Walt Disney Company. A+E streams several popular content including A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, LMN, FYI, ViceTV, and BIOGRAPHY. supported by advertising revenue. A+E is present in seven out of ten American homes, and cumulatively reaches 335 million people worldwide and 500+ million digital users.
As their streaming services grew in importance, the team at A+E Networks were facing some challenges in fully capturing and understanding their video delivery and advertising insertion data in anything close to a real-time manner. With several streaming services, multiple CDNs, and a complex ad-tech stack, monitoring user engagement and operational anomalies were becoming significantly more complicated.
In order to improve their overall business metrics and address increasingly fierce competition for consumer attention, A+E Networks selected the MediaMelon SmartSight solution. The early goals of the implementation were:
To better understand how users perceive and engage with different content
To reduce the number of delivery errors by quickly identifying source issues and fixing them
To improve the revenue profile of advertising insertion by optimizing their display position, time, duration, etc.
A+E Networks’ streaming service is delivered to a wide range of mobile platforms, Smart TVs, and consumer devices such as Roku and FireTV. With such diversity, it becomes important to capture QoE data in the same context as the consumer sees the service, measure it accurately, and normalize the information across the various different platforms and devices. A combination of comprehensive, accurate data, processed and aggregated in a powerful platform becomes the foundation of the streaming intelligence that is key to identification of anomalies and opportunities for optimization. On a broader front, the intelligent platform is key to understanding how users engage with the platform, and how to improve service engagement.
The SmartSight SDK, integrated as a last mile measurement tool cross all types of consumer device, becomes that vital data capture engine. The SDK captures a wide range of real-time data about video delivery, player operational logic, and ad insertion/display events. The SmartSight Platform is the intelligent aggregation point for all this global service data from which the SmartSight tools can generate and communicate operational and business insights.
How is SmartSight is Helping A+E Networks
By deploying the SmartSight solution, and using the SmartSight QoE and SmartSight Ads tools, A+E Networks now has increased real-time visibility of all their service operational data and has been able to more quickly identify easily effective strategies to improve delivery and drive more ad revenue.
The machine learning components of the SmartSight solutions are designed to help identify and address specific service challenges and help our customers achieve their goals. This can be especially important in maximizing advertising insertion quality and fill rates. For example:
Accurately measuring and reporting ad fill rate – ad impressions that are played back successfully,
Identifying the best ad positions – pre-, mid-, and post-rolls.
Tracking Ad pods and analyzing their performance – multiple ad insights,
Ad engagement – the no. of times users skip, click, block ads.
Early in the deployment the A+E Networks’ Media services team was able to identify an issue with an advertising server that was the root cause of a high ad failure rate. Using SmartSight Ads, they were able to drill down to the issue. Once identified, our team helped them resolve ad errors to ensure it doesn’t impact the QoE and boost ad revenue as well.
Additionally, there were issues related to the same ad playing from different ad sources within the same session. SmartSight Ads was instrumental in helping understand how to optimize ad frequency and ad repeats and offered actionable insights into improving ad insertion positions.
On a continuous basis, a service like A+E has to continually battle to reduce ad blocking and ad fraud to preserve the integrity of their valuable content streams. SmartSight provide an additional set of tools that contribute towards winning those battles.
The Future of Video Streaming Intelligence
When you spend millions of dollars to build a video streaming platform there are certain things you need to take care of – your user engagement, ad performance, and Quality of Experience (QoE)—all of which become critical issues for your overall service business performance.
As A+E continues to use MediaMelon’s SmartSight solutions, the combination of accurate, complete data and ML aided analytics empowers the A+E team to offer the best QoE to viewers while improving their overall ad performance.