By Tony Ferrari, Senior Product Manager
The TV landscape has been and continues to change rapidly. Distribution methods and workflows, along with the proliferation of devices and environments (web, iOS, Android, and more) have made it difficult to maintain control over content. But why must broadcasters and content distributors control access for specific content?
Content owners or producers, like sports leagues, allow others to access and distribute their content. This access often comes with restrictions on what, where, and who can and cannot watch it. This is known as a “blackout,” which means broadcasters and content owners are contractually obligated to restrict content based (mostly) on a viewer’s location or device type. Viewers subject to a blackout will either see a slate (e.g., black screen or “we’ll return in a minute” message) or, in an ideal scenario, are presented with alternative personalized content.
Broadcasters and content distributors not only need a solution that’s intelligent enough to discern a viewer’s location, device, or environment to deliver an experience optimized for their scenario but they also need a tool that ensures approved content is delivered to the right audience at the right time without putting the distributor at risk of breaking contractual obligations.
However, most industry tools only offer basic or limited capabilities such as delivering slate based on a user’s geography, which only partially targets audiences. Unfortunately, you can’t monetize slate, and the quality of experience is far from optimal, causing viewers to drop off, and most likely, never return. It’s imperative that any solution delivers alternative content or you run a high risk of losing viewers and negatively impacting revenue.
Our Media Platform, with Smartplay server-side content targeting, makes it easier than ever to exert holistic control over content distribution. Our session servers instantaneously create a 1:1 connection with every viewer that hits “play,” verifying them against infinite rule combinations to ensure content is approved for delivery to each individual.
Our platform is always evolving to meet the needs and demands of our customers. We recently enhanced our blackout scheduling capability with a new streamlined UI; added support for additional formats, so it’s easy to schedule blackouts based on any workflow; enabled more granular targeting rules; and provided alternative content delivery capabilities, so customers meet their contractual obligations and retain blacked out audiences.
Our streamlined, updated user interface makes it easy to schedule blackouts ahead of time. Now, when programs need to be adjusted, it’s a simple step to configure. Within the UI, you create audiences, build rulesets, and then apply these criteria to the assets that matter.
Our solution works with any workflow. Setting up audiences and business rules can be done in multiple formats. We support scheduling through our UI, API, or by uploading a CSV. To extend legacy broadcast workflows, content replacement and audience management can be automated for any workflow using ESNI (Event Scheduling and Notification Interface), saving time and extending reach, while creating harmony with your existing broadcast workflows.
Our solution goes beyond geotargeting. We offer the ability to segment viewers by IP address, zip code, DMA, country, and device. Doing so makes it easy for customers to create unique audiences and business rule combinations.
Instead of delivering slate to viewers, our latest enhancement enables customers to deliver alternative content, such as a different channel, a VOD asset, or another Live Slicer, which helps retain viewers and maximize their revenue.
If you have contractual obligations and you need to restrict viewers and deliver them alternative content, learn more about Smartplay content targeting by contacting us or visiting our documentation page.