Dynamic Ad Insertion
Broadcasters are always looking for new revenue opportunities. Aveco and Prime Image have joined forces to transparently insert additional commercials into a Program. Time Tailor is a unique technology that dynamically reduces a program’s length without altering the artistic value of the program. The ROI for this solution can be measured in days. Aveco has solved the complexities of managing this new workflow with the ASTRA MCR playout automation system.
Prime Image Time Tailor
Time Tailor is a unique device that dynamically and transparently shortens a video clip. Micro-editing technology removes frames in a way that is undetectable and does not compromise the integrity of the original content. It is endorsed by content creation leaders in the production industry.
An example of this processing is that a 30 minute program can be reduced by 30 seconds or more with no detectable difference in the eyes and ears of the consumer. The extra 30 seconds can be used for commercials, promos or public service announcements.
Another example is when a program runs long, to use this solution to make up time to get back on schedule. If a program runs 5 minutes long, such as a live sports broadcast, the time can be made up over the next few hours without dropping any content.
Impact on Playout
The complexity arises when trying to integrate this technology with your traffic and automation system. Since playout is based on time codes and program durations received from traffic, a program that will be processed by Time Tailor on playout will no longer match the original duration times. Thus without special processing, a program will end before it is expected, and black will be played to air.
Aveco has developed an interface for Time Tailor to dynamically and frame accurately insert new spots or make up time with the time reduced program segments (Fig 3).
ASTRA Playout Integration
Time Tailor is traditionally used during the Production process. Aveco developed a workflow to enable operators to use this unique technology in real-time during playout. Now operators can make last minute decision to insert additional ads or make up time for all types of programs eliminating the time required in production.
Operators simply highlight the area in the playlist to add new spots (Fig 2). ASTRA performs all the complex calculations for frame accurate playout. Warnings are provided when parameters are exceeded to avoid any on-air errors.
Because this enables broadcasters to insert additional ads into a program, even with the most conservative use, this solution can pay for itself in a matter of weeks, often in days.
ASTRA Time Tailor Configuration
In the Aveco configuration (Fig 1), Time Tailor is downstream of the master control switcher. It takes the normal program feed (clean feed) from the video server and routes it to Time Tailor. Additionally a video server port is allocated for playing the new ads made available by the time reduced program segments.
This configuration makes it easy to play the “Clean Feed” to one area and the time reduced program to a different area of the country.
Master control operators manually make the changes in the playlist. The operator highlights the area for the new ads and pastes in the new ads (Fig 2). ASTRA automatically calculates the necessary parameters for Time Tailor.
Time Tailor will then frame accurately time reduce the program segments for the exact duration of the new ads (which, like all ads, are played out normally). All the complex calculations and checks are performed in the background. If the operator exceeds the preset parameters for time reduction, warnings are provided immediately to avoid on-air errors.
To make up time for a long running program, the process is the same except no new content is added.
The ASTRA Time Tailor solution can immediately generates new revenues with no additional work in production. It is transparent to the users, easy for the operators, enables last minute decisions and can pay for itself in the first few weeks of use.
Figure 1 – Typical ASTRA Playout configuration with Time Tailor. The program signal is dynamically time reduced as it streams through Time Tailor, freeing up time for additional ads (TT ads). ASTRA switches the router between the Time Reduced Program and TT ads to fill the original time scheduled for the program.
Figure 2 – The MCR operator simply highlights the section for Time Tailor playout and adds the new commercials (TT-1, TT-2). ASTRA will automatically calculate all the parameters for Time Tailor and adjust the playlist frame accurately for playout. Items are tagged to not be time reduced such as commercials or promos and will be played as normal.
Figure 3 – This shows how new ads can be added by time reducing program segments. The top shows normal program playout. The bottom shows new ads (TT-Ad) inserted by time reducing the program segments.