Smartplay by Verizon, our 1 to 1 session management technology

Get smarter about your viewers to deliver personalized experiences

What is Smartplay or 1 to 1 session management?

Smartplay uniquely opens a direct channel of communication between the viewer and the OTT system on a viewer-by-viewer basis. The viewer provides information about who they are, where they are, what they’re watching, what device they’re on, and much more. In turn, the OTT system can adjust in real-time what content (or ad) is displayed while ensuring the quality of the stream is second to none. This ability to create a 1 to 1 session is technology differentiator of Verizon Digital Media Services’ platform.

How does Smartplay work?

Our platform creates an individual session every time a viewer presses play. After an initial exchange of information, our cloud-based session manager makes decisions roughly every five seconds while constantly re-writing the video manifest (i.e., playlist) to control the flow and quality of content, down to the individual viewer and device. It also collects real-time stats and advanced content analytics, which our platform processes on the fly to optimize decisions and further personalize viewing experiences.

How is Smartplay unique in the Verizon Digital Media Services’ platform?

Faced with the technical challenges of making millions of decisions every few seconds, other video platforms may offer personalization, but at a much higher level like device type or market region (e.g., Designated Market Area or DMA, zip code). Our end-to-end platform is purpose built to deliver TV-like quality and personalized experiences on every device, at scale. By scale, we mean more than just delivering seamless experiences worldwide. We mean streaming tens of millions of concurrent streams and tens of thousands of session starts per second. Every viewer gets a personalized experience, simultaneously. We leverage the power of the cloud to instantly provision session managers, whether you have hundreds or millions of viewers. This two-way flow of information between each viewer and your service allows you to make smarter business and technical decisions across an array of functionality.

1. The app or player sends viewer and performance data to our platform as the viewer progresses through your content.

2. Real-time stats and advanced content analytics are collected and processed on the fly to optimize decisions and further personalize viewing experiences.

3. Our cloud-based session manager constantly talks to the device, the video platform and advertising system to uniquely optimize the flow and quality of content back to each viewer and device.

Our platform’s 1 to 1 session management capability solves multiple challenges faced by content providers today.

Having the insights to deliver value to your viewers

You need insights into how and what your viewers are watching online otherwise you’re flying blind and applying a one-size-fits all, ineffective approach to every viewer. You need straightforward analytics and reporting to help you decide what content and ads will appeal to your viewers.

Customizing and personalizing experiences for every viewer

Viewers will no longer put up with impersonal online experiences. You need a way to build individual viewer profiles that capture viewing history, account profile details and other valuable data. You need to offer a more engaging, personalized experience for every viewer.

Optimizing your online revenue streams

Using the traditional TV advertising rule book just doesn’t work in OTT. In order to attract the highest-bidding advertisers, you need to know who your audience is and how to reach them. You need to be able to match the right viewers with the right ad and ensure that ads are presented in TV-like quality.

Feature highlights

Smarter delivery

Session manager

Pressing play triggers the session manager to create the manifest that chooses the optimal video quality adaptive bitrate (ABR) stream from our platform. Decisions about quality can be made at the individual stream level, at the CDN edge node, or even at the CDN level.

Global delivery footprint

Our network has over 100 Super PoPs on five continents. We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars to grow our network by 340 percent in the last 29 months, and we will continue to expand our global footprint to ensure that your content is cached close to your viewers.

Players and SDKs

We offer lightweight players and client libraries that can be quickly added to your apps and websites. Once integrated, they handle all of the complex communication between our session manager and your viewers.

Video-optimized content delivery network

We build our servers with specialized hardware to speed data I/O and reduce latency, especially for live video. Our Edgecast CDN’s IP Anycast-based routing is a more efficient way of determining the closest edge server to your viewer, reducing time to first byte, speeding up your video start times.

Super PoP CDN architecture

Rather than spread a few servers in disparate locations around the world, we concentrate our footprint at key points of global interconnection. Our Super PoPs (points of presence) have massive amounts of computing and caching power and are directly connected to all the major backbone and last-mile networks.

Learn more about smarter delivery.

Smarter advertising

Content Management System (CMS)

In our platform’s online portal, you can set up your advertising business requirements for ad load and ad placement (pre-, mid-, and post-roll). This tells the ad-decisioning system how many targeted ad decisions to make in order to fill the inventory for a given session.


The Slicer is our platform’s encoder that ingests and conditions videos and ads for seamless online delivery.

Server-side ad insertion technology

Provides a better viewer experience with fully dynamic, targeted ads during live and on-demand streaming. Since server-side ad insertion technology stitches the ad into the stream rather than a third-party ad server, it effectively avoids ad blockers.

Learn more about smarter advertising.

Smarter insights

Analytics engine

Get access to invaluable insights into all your viewers’ engagement with our analytics engine. Vital operational information enables you to optimize video quality and network conditions (congestion, throughput strength) for all device types (e.g., operating system, screen size, etc.) Critical business information helps you fine tune your OTT service to engage your viewers better.

Enterprise QoS/QoE (quality of service and experience) tools

Access real-time health status and alerts integrated into monitoring, management and failover tools to ensure the highest-quality streaming and service across our platform.

Open APIs and session logs

Discover more about your viewers on an individual level. Open APIs allow data from our platform to be combined with your CRM, billing and account information.

Content Intelligence System (CIS)

Get new intelligence to drive agile business and technical decisions. We have combined the best parts of a content management system (CMS), online video platform, digital asset management system and subscriber management to form the next-generation video platform. Our intelligence comes from the insights from disparate data sets across the entire content preparation, distribution and presentation workflows.

Learn more about smarter insights.

Smarter programming

Regional blackouts

Enforces content rights based on program availability. The blackout manager communicates with the manifest to replace content that is restricted in certain markets.

Personalized programming

Observes and learns viewers’ habits and preferences so that you can create a highly personalized online channel by selecting multiple video program titles and stitching them into playback URL for every individual viewer.

Smarter discovery


Made up of a directory of video chunks, the manifest is also known as the playlist. It works in conjunction with the video blackout manager to customize each viewer’s session based on content availability and network quality. The manifest also works with the Ad Decision System (ADS) and our server-side ad insertion technology to decide when and how to request and deliver an ad.

Smarter protection

Authorized protection

Protects your content from unauthorized viewing by matching each viewer’s session to a unique authentication key.

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In the news

Jason Friedlander of Verizon Digital Media Services discusses how Smartplay delivers smarter, personalized experiences to every viewer.

Learn more about 1 to 1 session management.

Feature benefits

Deliver personalized content

Personalize content and ad experiences according to individual preferences and viewing habits. Personalized experiences mean more viewing and more loyal customers.

Drive higher revenue

Smartplay, combined with our server-side ad insertion technology, delivers a true TV-like experience. No more rebuffering, quality shifts and interruptions between content and ads. Better experiences with high-quality, relevant ads result in higher ad completion rates. A highly engaged audience means you can attract more advertisers and higher CPMs.

Optimize delivery for higher quality of experience

Dynamically adjust delivery across disparate formats and multiple, unpredictable networks to ensure quality of delivery to every connected device, everywhere.

Protect your premium content

Defends your content from unauthorized viewing as each viewer’s session is matched to a unique authentication key required for playback.

Smartplay, our 1 to 1 session management, gives broadcasters and content publishers real-time control of viewer experiences regardless of scale.

  • TV-quality programming reaches your subscribers, no matter which connected device they love to watch on.
  • With Smartplay, our end-to-end platform knows when to replace content to ensure the viewer never sees a blank screen or slate.
  • Our Smartplay insights feeds into our server-side ad insertion technology to serve only the best-matched ads and to maximize commercial break placements by attracting the highest-paying advertisers.