Blog

Adapt your content distribution for modern AVOD services

July 18, 2022

By Paul Brickel, Senior Director, Product Marketing

OTT platforms no longer fit cleanly into the traditional business models of AVOD (ad-supported video on demand), SVOD (subscription services), TVOD (pay-per-view video streaming), and so forth. Many AVOD platforms have grown to involve more than just video-on-demand assets. They also offer linear TV and live content as well. (Think about Tubi, The Roku Channel, and PlutoTV, for example.)

Many streaming platforms that started as purely ad-free SVOD services (such as HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Netflix) are now offering AVOD plans. And some, like Amazon Prime Video, have ads enabled for third-party content (such as videos pulled in from IMDBTV, aka Amazon Freevee) which isn’t covered by Amazon’s subscription fee.

Content owners who want to increase revenue streams by distributing on AVODs must understand how to navigate this new environment and equip themselves with the necessary tools.

Success on AVOD requires that you:

  • Distribute on the AVOD platforms that are best suited to your content and audience.
  • Optimize your content’s discoverability on each platform (and deliver a great viewing experience) by using all of the content formats they provide.
  • Maximize your advertising revenue.

The key to accomplishing these tasks is to use a cloud playout solution like Amagi that has the flexibility to keep up with the evolving AVOD landscape. Amagi offers a suite of tools for content management, live and linear playout, VOD distribution, dynamic ad insertion, and ad sales. Over 700 brands use Amagi to distribute content on 100+ platforms.

In this article, we'll discuss how you can use Amagi to succeed on AVOD services and how our growing list of partnerships with over-the-top platforms makes AVOD distribution easier.

Amagi is a high-performance cloud playout solution that you can use to ingest, manage, deliver, and monetize your content on OTTs, cable, satellite, social media, and websites. To learn more about how Amagi can help you maximize revenue on AVOD streaming services, contact our team.

Distribute your content on the right AVOD platforms

Since there are hundreds of AVOD platforms to choose from, the first key to success with AVOD distribution is to select platforms where your content will be well positioned to succeed.

To find the right platforms, you need to ask yourself:

1) How is my content best viewed?

To maximize viewership and revenue, you need to select AVOD platforms that best suit the consumption habits of your viewers. For example:

  • Will viewers enjoy your content in a linear format or would they prefer picking and choosing?
  • What devices and platforms do viewers prefer to consume your content on (connected TVs, smartphones, apps, social media platforms, etc.)?

2) Where are my target viewers?

You should go where your target viewers are by finding platforms that:

  • Cater to your content niche.
  • Have viewers in your target demographics.

Choosing distribution platforms requires you to balance potential reach with specificity. Niche content may perform better on platforms that cater to that niche. For example, sports content will perform better on a sports-heavy platform like fuboTV. News content might perform better on a platform like Haystack News.

Yet platforms like YouTubeTV and Netflix also offer sports, horror, and anime content. While these platforms have a much larger user base, you must consider whether that means you'll actually get more viewers or if your content will get lost in the sea of other content on the platform.

How Amagi can help you find and get on the best platforms

Amagi ON-DEMAND is a plug-and-play solution for VOD delivery. You can ingest your content and metadata into the system once, then deliver it to the VOD platforms you're partnered with. Amagi ON-DEMAND will automatically tailor your content to each platform's formatting and delivery specifications (e.g., which parts of the metadata to use, how to format the video, etc.), and update those specs when they change.

Amagi is partnered with 50+ VOD platforms that it can deliver to, including:

Amagi can also deliver to all social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, etc.

Many VOD platforms only work with "preferred partners" — i.e., a few trusted content delivery vendors that you must use to place your content on their platform. Amagi is a preferred partner for many VOD platforms, like LG and Vizio.

Not only does Amagi give you access to more platforms than any other content delivery tool, but our team can help you craft an optimal AVOD distribution and monetization strategy using:

  • Our experience delivering content for hundreds of brands for nearly 15 years.
  • Our insight into the user base of our partner platforms.
  • Our insight into the performance of Amagi users' content on those platforms.
  • Our connections with our partner platforms.

Optimize discoverability on your chosen platforms

As discussed earlier, most modern AVOD services offer linear and live content in addition to VOD. By availing yourself of these other content formats, you can maximize the discoverability of your content and provide the best viewing experience for your audience. And you can use Amagi to do so.

Deliver linear channels with Amagi CLOUDPORT

Amagi CLOUDPORT is an award-winning, high-performance cloud playout platform that you can use to deliver linear content. Like Amagi ON-DEMAND, you can deliver multiple linear channels to different OTT platforms (as well as cable, satellite, and native apps) after a single ingest.

NOTE: All Amagi products are part of the same tech stack. So, once you've ingested your content into our system using any tool, it doesn't need to be ingested again for any other tool.

Amagi CLOUDPORT has many features and capabilities that make it the best tool for delivering linear channels:

Flexibility:

Amagi CLOUDPORT can ingest all industry-preferred formats for video, audio, and subtitles. It supports output in RTMP, HLS, UDP, and HD-SDI. And you can play out content in SD, HD, and 4K.

Automation:

Amagi CLOUDPORT uses automation to reduce costs, eliminate repetitive tasks, and improve efficiency. It uses automated quality control to identify errors (such as black frames, misaligned audio/video, etc.) and emails your QC team so they can address the issue. Amagi tailors your playout to the technical specs of the platforms you deliver to. And it uses redundant playout streams with automatic playout switching. So, if one network goes down, it can instantly switch to another stream to ensure an SLA (service level agreement) of 99.99%.

Native graphics and subtitle support:

Amagi CLOUDPORT can generate subtitles and closed captions that meet the requirements of any market you deliver to. It also supports advanced dynamic graphics, such as picture-in-picture (PIP), Credit Squeeze, L-band, and more. With native support for both of these functions, you won't need to purchase and manage separate tools for graphics or subtitles.

Build program schedules for linear channels with Amagi PLANNER

Building channel schedules has always been a significant pain point for media companies — and one that may dissuade many publishers from creating linear channels on their AVOD platforms.

But Amagi PLANNER is a powerful content scheduling platform that is easier and more efficient than traditional broadcast scheduling systems and manual content scheduling. It uses automation to eliminate repetitive tasks and make schedule building easy and efficient.

Automated ad-break insertion

In a given day, a channel may display up to 200 ad breaks. Other scheduling tools require you to manually insert ad breaks into your content schedule.

But Amagi PLANNER automatically inserts ad breaks based on rules you configure — like when to insert ad breaks, how long they last, the type of ads you want to use, etc. — saving you a significant amount of time.

Easy, intuitive scheduling

Amagi PLANNER uses a drag-and-drop interface to schedule assets in your calendar. You can search, sort, and filter through assets based on metadata you program into the system.

You can also choose between fixed content scheduling — where scheduled assets automatically begin at the top of the hour or half-hour — or flexible content scheduling — where assets begin whenever you program them (for example, 6:07 p.m.).

Rapid schedule construction with automation

Amagi PLANNER enables you to use automation to rapidly construct program schedules across multiple days with just a few clicks using features like:

  • Scheduling one episode of a series to play every Thursday at 10:00 p.m. (rather than manually inserting every episode when you want it to play).
  • Creating weekend-only scheduling patterns.
  • Using the "Search & Replace" feature to replace all occurrences of one asset with another asset. (e.g., If you have one show that airs daily and you'd like to replace it with another show, you can do so in a few clicks instead of manually replacing each occurrence.)
  • Copying and pasting entire schedule blocks.

License violation warnings

If you're licensing lots of content, managing all those licenses can be difficult. But Amagi PLANNER can use the licensing rights included in your content’s metadata. If you schedule content in violation of those rights, Amagi PLANNER will alert you so you can adjust course. That said, if you’re scheduling several months out, you’ll still be able to leave the flagged content in as long as you resolve the conflict before exporting the schedule as a playlist and EPG.

Stream live content with Amagi LIVE

If you choose to deliver live content on your AVOD platforms, you'll need a tool that can mix VOD and live content in a playout schedule. There aren't many tools on the market that can do so.

Amagi LIVE is our UHD-ready, live orchestration platform. It can be deployed with ease and uses automation and efficient tech processes to enable a single operator to manage multiple live broadcasts.

Amagi LIVE has several features and capabilities that make it the ideal solution for live streams on your AVOD platforms:

Low-latency, high-quality streaming

For broadcasts where low latency is critical, Amagi LIVE is the ideal solution. Our tool minimizes the time from when it receives the stream to when it's delivered to the CDN, resulting in improved viewing experiences.

Amagi LIVE can also stream in SD, HD, and 4K.

VOD recording

You can automatically record live events so you can replay them on your linear channels and/or deliver them to your VOD platforms.

Dynamic live streaming and ad insertion

Amagi LIVE can handle any complex live stream delivery requirements. For example, you can deliver a live stream in HD to one platform, and deliver it in 4K to another.

You can also dynamically insert ads as needed. For example, you can insert localized ads based on the viewer's location (so a viewer in Boston can receive an ad for a local pizza company).

Live stream management features

You can use live controls to manually control ad-break slots/duration, insert graphics, switch between input sources, and more. You can also use Amagi LIVE to dynamically alter prerecorded content (for example, you can insert different logo graphics onto your content depending on which platform you're delivering to).

Outsource management with managed services

For content owners who need to outsource the management of their live streams, Amagi can:

  • Create and tear down cloud instances for your live streams and pop-up channels.
  • Monitor your stream to ensure uptime and fix any errors.

Learn more about managing content ingestion, playout, scheduling, and ad insertion with Amagi. Contact our team to discuss your content and the platforms on which it would perform the best.

Maximize ad revenue and ad inventory

To maximize your revenue from AVOD platforms, you'll need to deliver highly targeted ads that convert. Most solutions only support full screen ad breaks at set intervals. But Amagi offers a powerful combination of dynamic ad insertion technology coupled with an ad sales team to help you make the best use of your ad inventory.

Make the most of your ad inventory with Amagi ADS PLUS

Amagi ADS PLUS is our CTV advertising marketplace that connects ad buyers and sellers. Amagi ADS PLUS gives ad buyers access to our highly targeted ads and innovative ad formats that often aren't sold on other ad exchanges so they can increase conversions and sellers can increase ad yield (i.e., charge a higher CPM). That said, Amagi can also put your inventory on ad exchanges for dynamic purchase and delivery.

You can use Amagi ADS PLUS to fill some or all of your ad inventory (with a revenue-share model), enabling you to focus your time and effort on creating a great viewer experience and save money you would have spent on an ad sales team.

Deliver highly targeted ads with Amagi THUNDERSTORM

Amagi THUNDERSTORM is a DAI (dynamic ad-insertion) tool that enables you to effectively monetize live, linear, and VOD content.

You can use Amagi THUNDERSTORM to increase conversions and charge a higher CPM (cost per mille) by:

  • Inserting contextual ads
  • Using innovative ad formats
  • Improving the ad-viewing experience

Context-based ad insertion

Unlike other ad insertion tools that only use viewer data (like age, location, gender, etc.) for ad targeting, Amagi THUNDERSTORM can also deliver ads based on first-party data. For viewers with smart TVs and similar devices, Amagi can target:

Content category and genre

You can insert ads based on the type of content a viewer is watching. For example, viewers who are watching a cooking show can receive ads for cooking products.

You can also insert ads based on the content genre. For example, viewers who are watching a True Crime show can receive ads for home security products.

Scene-level metadata:

You can use the metadata for your content to deliver ads at the scene level. For example, during a scene where the characters are eating a pizza, you can insert an ad for a local pizza company.

Innovative ad formats

With Amagi THUNDERSTORM, you can utilize the latest ad technology and insert ads in new, effective ad formats. This enables you to increase the effectiveness of your ads while increasing the ad opportunities you can sell to advertisers.

Amagi ad formats include:

Nonlinear ads

You can show graphic and video ads while your content is still playing (without cutting to a commercial break like traditional TV ads) using a lower-third or split-screen display.

Product/brand insertion

You can insert products and brand logos into a scene on your content. For example, you can insert a brand's logo onto a wall in the background of a scene. Or, if there is a box of Cheerios in a scene, you can replace it with a box of Fruity Pebbles.

Long-form ads

You can insert long-form ads (ads of 1 minute or more) in between your video content. For example, viewers can see a 30-minute ad detailing all of RAM's exciting new trucks in between a NASCAR event and a reality TV show about cars.

Maximize ad delivery and viewing experience

Amagi THUNDERSTORM also includes several features and capabilities that enable you to get the most from your ad monetization and optimize the ad-viewing experience for your audience.

AI ad delivery

It can be difficult to find appropriate opportunities to insert ads without interrupting your program. But Amagi's AI tool, TORNADO, can help by identifying optimal ad-insertion opportunities. It looks for indicators such as:

  • Black frames
  • Scene switches
  • Volume declines 

Frame-accurate ad delivery

A frame-accurate ad should begin at the last frame of your content before the commercial break begins and it should play out until the last frame of the ad.

If an ad interrupts your programming, it can harm the viewing experience for your audience. If an ad cuts off before playing every single frame, you may not get paid for the impression.

Amagi THUNDERSTORM delivers frame-accurate ads that keep your audience happy and ensure your ad impressions count.

Ad analytics

Amagi THUNDERSTORM provides ad analytics you can use to optimize your ad performance and maximize revenue.

Ad metrics include:

  • Ad performance metrics: Amagi THUNDERSTORM provides metrics on how each ad performs, including the number of impressions, users, geolocation, ad network performance, and so forth.
  • Fill rate metrics: You’ll always receive ASRUN reports and other data on how your ad inventory was actually filled.

Using these insights, you can better optimize your content scheduling and command higher CPMs with proof that your content performs well.

Stay competitive with Amagi

As subscription video-on-demand services increasingly turn to ad revenue to keep their platforms relevant, content providers need tools that enable them to keep their online video content fresh and accessible.

You can use Amagi to deliver a premium content experience to your viewers and increase revenue from all types of video advertising. If your monetization model includes ad revenue, then Amagi ADS PLUS and Amagi THUNDERSTORM, with its full suite of dynamic ad insertion features, are a must.

Learn more about managing content ingestion, playout, scheduling, and ad insertion with Amagi. Contact our team to discuss your content and the platforms on which it would perform the best.

Comments