THUNDERSTORM
Dynamic Ad Insertion

Server-side ad insertion platform for OTT content publishers and vMVPD platforms

What is THUNDERSTORM

Amagi THUNDERSTORM is an automated ad detection and OTT dynamic ad insertion platform that enables content publishers and vMVPD platforms to effectively monetize live linear OTT channels. It’s based on an advanced, server-side ad insertion technology that can insert personalized, in-stream ads, without requiring any customization to the streaming applications on the user’s device. THUNDERSTORM supports wide range of OTT platforms, players, and devices which makes it the most versatile ad insertion solution available today.

Unlike other server-side ad insertion alternatives, THUNDERSTORM supports automated ad detection using advanced machine learning. Using the technology, the platform can detect and replace ads with more than 95 percent accuracy even though ad triggers are not available . In case content publishers do want to use ad markers, THUNDERSTORM can support multiple ad insertion markers including SCTE, DTMF Cue Tones, Packet31, and Amagi’s patented Watermark.

THUNDERSTORM is already the preferred choice of some of the largest OTT networks and vMVPD platforms, and is tested to work seamlessly with leading ad networks such as SpotX, Smaato, Videology, Google DFP, Sizmek, and many more.

Benefits

  • Accurate, automated ad detection
  • Hyperscaling for sports and live events
  • Flexible ad sourcing options
  • Supports wide range of devices and platforms

What can you use THUNDERSTORM for?

To monetize linear OTT channels programmatically
To monetize linear OTT channels programmatically

Generate ad revenues for OTT channels and vMVPD platforms such as YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, Verizon, Sony PlayStation Vue, Roku, and Twitch.

As a platform to monetize
VOD content
As a platform to monetize
VOD content

Serve mid-roll, pre-roll, and post-roll ads while playing VOD assets published on vMVPD platforms or OTT web applications.

Monetizing live sports and events
Monetizing live sports and events

Monetize live sports by supporting tens of millions simultaneous viewers using high concurrency ‘hyperscale’ feature.

Features

featured

Interested in Amagi THUNDERSTORM ?

Technical Specifications

Audio-video formats

  • Video: H.264
  • Audio: Multiple audio track support for Dolby Digital AC3, AAC
  • Input stream formats: HLS, RTP, RTMP, RTSP, SDI, MPEG-2 TS

Ad insertion capabilities

  • Meta data: - Supports EXT tag metadata extraction from HLS playlist for cue point detection - Supports timed ID3 metadata extraction from HLS stream for ad break detection - Can be customized as per the requirements of the customer
  • Ad graphics: Static bugs/logos | Tickers | Aston bands | L-bands
  • Ad insertion types: Pre-roll | Mid-roll | Post-roll

Ad networks and ad servers supported

  • SPOTX
  • Google DFP
  • Telaria
  • Videology
  • Smaato
  • OpenX
  • FreeWheel
  • CIX
  • RhythmOne
  • Sizmek

Configuration options

  • Using customer CDN only for customer’s OTT applications
  • Using customer CDN for third-party (partner) OTT applications
  • Using partner CDN for third-party OTT applications

Third-party integration

  • Ad network protocols: VAST 2.0 and higher
  • CDNs: Akamai, Limelight, AWS CloudFront
  • Ad formats: Linear video, in-line, wrapper, ad pods
  • Input stream formats: Impressions begin, quartiles, and end third-party tracking

Ad-detection mechanisms

  • Automated ad detection: Real-time, trigger-less ad detection with up to 95 percent accuracy using Amagi’s automated ad detections system
  • SCTE triggers-based ad detection: SCTE triggers-based ad break detection and adaptation to different SCTE configurations
  • Watermark-based ad detection: Detection of ads using Amagi’s proprietary watermarking technology
  • Cue tones-based ad detection: Cue tones (DTMF)-based detection for linear stream

FAQs

In ad detection where the fingerprint matching is done with incoming ad in the stream with the one existing in library database, what happens when a shorter duration of the same ad is served? For example, Nike ad is played which is of 20 seconds. Later Nike releases an ad wherein the first 5 seconds are same but the last 15 seconds is shortened by another 5 seconds, totalling 10 seconds. Will there be a match in that case?

Yes. In the current system it will be a match, but it will be flagged as a “duplicate” in the system as two ads of different duration will respond positive and hence, both will be discarded. This can be improved if we can track the ad till the end and this is on our product roadmap.

When the user has in-house ad sales, why do we need Google DFP? Can we completely get away from it?

Google DFP is mostly used as a campaign management system by everyone. If someone has in house ad sales, they need an ad server to manage and serve ad campaigns. It is a very powerful campaign management system that also supports integration with third-party ad networks.

What's the difference between normal and professional version of Google DFP?

There are two versions for Google DFP.

DFP Small Business and DFP Premium

  • DFP small business is free for everyone but has a limited feature set. For example, it can support only in-house ad sales and cannot connect with third-party ad networks and it cannot connect with AdX as well.
  • DFP Premium is an extensive campaign management system for tier-one customers. In our case, if the customer wants to use in-house ad sales, then they can use DFP small business and set a waterfall mechanism in THUNDERSTORM. But most of the customers prefer to control ad decisioning on their own and hence, they use DFP that provide a lot more flexibility and transparency on reporting.

My understanding is that AdX does not support SSAI. So, can platforms like HotStar/SonyLIV use both Amagi THUNDERSTORM and AdX? Basically, can we use both SSAI and Client-Side Ad Insertion (CSAI)?

AdX supports SSAI but only the specific version allowed by Google. THUNDERSTORM cannot integrate with AdX because it needs client-side SDK integration. Currently, AdX does not allow third-party SSAI.

Can exclusivity and niche content drive 'Fill Rate'? Can we achieve high fill rates with niche content?

Fill Rate is a mathematical term. Low fill rate also can give higher monetisation at higher CPM. And even high fill rate can give insignificant monetisation if CPM is very low. Fill Rate is used to determine how the system is performing in comparison to number of requests made. That means, it only determines if there is a demand in the market for the inventory we possess.

Demand is driven by the profile of users watching the content. If a channel’s viewers are considered valuable for a particular segment of advertisers, then yes, it can be valuable. For this particular example, if the viewership numbers of the channel are not great, then the revenue will not be significant despite higher CPM. Typically, this works as per the multiplier effect. Try multiplying 10,000 viewers $10 versus 100,000 viewers $2 for an accurate estimate.

Does the fill rate depend on channel/content, or the given platform? For example, in case of a vMVPD platform, a user may watch “Channel A” (higher audience ratings) and then switch to “Channel B” (relatively lower audience ratings). When the ad network serves ads, does it consider that the user is no longer watching “Channel A” and now watching “Channel B”? In short, does it consider impressions channel-wise or platform-wise?

Currently, Amagi is channel-agnostic while serving ad impressions.

What changes are done in the app installed at end-user?

No changes are required on client-side since THUNDERSTORM only transmits the unified stream of content and ads.

What is the dependency of THUNDERSTORM on devices? We are testing it against multiple devices.

No dependencies exist as Amagi THUNDERSTORM is completely device-agnostic.

How many devices does THUNDERSTORM support now?

We are compatible with devices that can support OTT streams.

What's a VAST tag?

VAST tag is just an http URL like any other with query parameters that contain user and content information.

What's the role of the player? Does the same app use different players for different OS / device? How many players does THUNDERSTORM support? Which important players THUNDERSTORM doesn't support?

It’s the choice made by app developers. We support every leading player, including native players.

How do we calculate the impressions of the ads played?

As soon as the ad is played for the user, a beacon is fired and it gets registered in the ad network system counting as an impression. We also do quartile reporting. That means, we fire beacons for start, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% complete. We also check creative view and viewability to make sure ad networks register all types of beacons they need.

Can we see the demo of the THUNDERSTORM UI and console?

Yes. The THUNDERSTORM UI and console are given to customers in a self-served model. Contact us to set-up a demo.

There are multiple formats of streams - RTMP, HLS and MPEG DASH. Which one is preferred?

HLS is used for Apple devices and DASH for Android. Clients prefer DASH for Android as they want to use the native player and not a third-party player like Exoplayer. If someone uses Exoplayer in Android apps, then they do not need DASH.

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