Behind Adobe’s Primetime Push

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JeremyMost know Adobe for the company’s Creative and Marketing Cloud offerings, but it’s the company’s end-to-end, “TV Everywhere” platform Adobe Primetime that steals the show with broadcasters and cable operators like NBC Sports and Time Warner Cable.

The year-old platform encompasses technology Adobe acquired when it bought video ads platform Auditude in 2011, as well as digital rights management, video analytics and user authentication.

“(We want to) help the television industry through this digital transformation and find new and exciting ways to reach their audiences across whatever devices they want to watch their content,” said Jeremy Helfand, VP of Adobe Primetime and former CEO of Auditude.

Helfand spoke with AdExchanger about Adobe’s push to deliver TV content to every IP-connected device.

AdExchanger: What traction has Primetime had?

JEREMY HELFAND: We’ve seen tremendous traction from both broadcasters and operators or Pay TV providers leveraging the Adobe Primetime platform in order to deliver that television content to a smartphone, tablet, gaming console or IP-based television. We officially launched the product a little over a year ago, although we had some beta customers like Comcast and NBC prior to the official launch in April last year.

We’re focused on not only the ad serving piece, but the entire workflow of how you deliver and monetize that television content experience regardless of where you consume it. Ultimately, we believe where the market is going is a more personalized, engaging experience and that’s where you’ll see the connection between the Adobe Marketing Cloud and Primetime.

What problem do you help broadcasters solve?

From the advertising perspective, the early execution of advertising in video was, “Let me throw a bunch of pre-roll in front of a piece of content.” A lot of that had to do with the technical challenges associated with, “How do you insert an ad into a piece of content and deliver that single stream into a given device?” Being able to address those challenges technically and from a consumer experience standpoint really drives greater engagement of content and gives advertisers a better platform in which to do that.

How is device fragmentation affecting broadcasters?

Because there are so many devices, they all have different protocols and technical requirements and it’s been very difficult for broadcasters and Pay TV providers to reach their consumers and aggregate the audience sizes they’ve been able to do in television. What Adobe has done through our Primetime SDK is create a single platform that allows playback of content across any device, whether that’s an Android or iOS smartphone, a tablet, or Xbox and Roku, which we’ve just announced support for.

 How do you help with monetization?

There’s a unique set of challenges around being able to take content, stitch an ad and redeliver it. Adobe Primetime was designed to dynamically insert ads. We support both a server side and cloud-based insertion capability, as well as a client-based capability.

Can you give a use case?

Turner Broadcasting uses Adobe Primetime to dynamically insert ads into live, simulcasted content for a number of their brands including TNT and TBS. So, anytime you’re watching content on television, you can watch that same content on the Watch TNT or Watch TBS app and the ads you and I would see would not only be different from the television ads, but different than the ads I would see. And so that extends the monetization capability and provides a better engagement for the consumer and benefits the broadcaster because Turner now can not only generate incremental revenue, but they can also charge higher CPMs because they can provide a more effective advertising solution.

What about user authentication across devices?

Our authentication for TV Everywhere, Adobe Pass, is part of the Primetime platform. When you log onto the CNN app or the WatchESPN app for the first time and it asks you for your user name and password from your cable provider or satellite provider, that technology is Adobe technology. We sit in this really important position between the Pay TV provider and the programmer or broadcaster, helping them determine, “Does this person have access to this content?” and then allowing that content to flow.

So Adobe Pass is the gatekeeper.

It protects the traditional television revenue streams. The traditional television business is an $800 billion business split roughly half and half between affiliate fees and advertising revenue that gets generated. As a broadcaster, you want to protect that traditional revenue stream but also extend it to these new digital platforms. Adobe Pass is part of the Primetime platform and when someone authenticates for their TV Everywhere experience, (we’ve found) they consume two to three times as much content as a non-authenticated user.

Will Adobe integrate Primetime with the Marketing Cloud? 

 We’re working on it. This personalization is where you start to see tie-ins between the digital Marketing Cloud and Primetime. If you can drive a more personalized experience in the balance of content and ads, it will be more engaging. We’re thinking about a number of synergistic integrations between the digital marketing cloud and Adobe Primetime – one being around video analytics.

Can you expand on the analytics?

We announced recently a new methodology for being able to better track and provide analytics around video streams, what we call heartbeat analytics. This is giving more granular insight into how consumers are engaging with the content they’re interested in, and then providing more real-time feedback so adjustments can be made to the ad load or the type of content. That’s leveraging the analytics base coming out of Adobe Marketing Cloud and is part of the Adobe Primetime platform. We also launched the availability of quality-of-experience diagnostics attached to the Adobe Primetime player, so you can see engagement length of time, etc. We have a rich roadmap that continues to leverage other solutions in the digital Marketing Cloud because we see more opportunities to bring greater personalization to TV content across devices.

How many ads have been served through Primetime?

We haven’t specifically released numbers, but there are many major broadcasters and Pay TV providers leveraging the platform. So you have NBC Sports, Shaw Media, Turner, Comcast, Time Warner Cable. There are a number of other major Pay TV providers we’ll be announcing in the near future. We’re seeing traction both on the Pay TV provider and programmer side.

What’s the biggest shift in the Pay TV industry?

Pay TV providers are trying to retool their businesses and infrastructure to provide a more expansive experience to their subscribers and make sure they’ve got the right sort of over-the-top (OTT) offerings where they’re seeing competition in the marketplace. The programmer is looking to establish a relationship with their audience so they can brand their content and it stays top of mind with the consumer whether they’re watching it directly on an app or through their cable provider. In both instances, (we think we have) the best platform to move from experimentation to really deliver that experience. We see ourselves as the video experience platform for TV across all devices.

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