Best of Show Up Close: Verizon Media’s Smartplay

“Best of Show Up Close” is a series about the nominees and winners for the annual Future Best of Show at NAB award program.

TVT spoke with Ralf Jacob, president of the Verizon Media Platform, about their BoS-nominated product Smartplay platform.

TV Technology:Tells us about Smartplay; what does it offer users?

Ralf Jacob: Verizon Media’s Smartplay delivers highly personalized sessions via manifest manipulation with capabilities for content server-side ad insertion, digital rights management, content targeting and time control. The result is the more TV-like experience that today’s viewers demand from OTT. Using Smartplay, service providers can deliver entirely customized content, adapted for each consumer’s interests, completely automatically and in real-time without any additional overhead in editing or playout resources.

TVT:Can you provide some examples of how users have been implementing it?

RJ: Yahoo created a streaming channel powered by the Verizon Media Platform that went live on Roku in less than a month and as part of this project, Smartplay server-side ad insertion was used to create personalized viewing experiences and increase monetization.

TVT:What about Smartplay separates it from similar offerings?

RJ: OTT providers are realizing that viewers will soon expect truly personalized services to be the norm from any service provider. Consumers will expect media platforms to offer them the content they are most interested in, tailored for the specific device they are using and backed by relevant, useful advertising. Service providers that are unable to offer this will miss the opportunity to drive deeper audience engagement and will lose out on significant advertising revenues.

Smartplay has a number of unique features that help broadcasters retain viewers and boost revenues:

  • Server-side Ad Insertion
    Smartplay features dynamic ad insertion, which delivers TV-like quality on OTT services by providing viewers with highly personalized adverts. Smartplay’s server-side technology encodes content and ads into a unified stream, guaranteeing TV-like quality while eliminating latency associated with fetching ads during breaks. Its singular stream also avoids ad blockers, allowing broadcasters to reach more viewers and maximize monetization opportunities.
  • Content Targeting
    Smartplay makes it easier for broadcasters to have complete control over content distribution. Verizon Media’s session servers instantaneously connect with every viewer that hits “play,” verifying them against infinite rule combinations, so broadcasters can be certain that content is approved for delivery to each person.
  • Time Control
    Smartplay has the capability to deliver content at low latency, often 40% closer to real time. Low latency ensures that viewers feel more engaged during live events, which helps build brand loyalty. Smartplay also offers a host of time-based controls, such as catch-up TV services, time zone shifting and the ability to segment content within each session without changing your workflow or managing different use cases.
  • Stream Routing
    An advanced strategy for worldwide streaming, Stream Routing diversifies delivery options—adding capacity when and broadcasters need it—to ensure their content is available in times of super-peak traffic. Whether streams are broadcast live or VOD, Stream Routing enables faster startup times and reduces rebuffering to provide the best and most consistent viewing experience possible.

TVT:What does it cost? When will it be/is it available?

RJ: Smartplay is available now as just one of the premium suite of features available on the Verizon Media Platform.

TVT:What else should consumers know about Smartplay, or the Verizon Media Platform in general?

RJ: Consumers should know that the Verizon Media Platform is helping broadcasters deliver high-quality experiences by simplifying video workflows that scale globally on the world’s largest, most connected network. As a result of broadcasters using our network, consumers will be able to enjoy hyper-personalized, TV-like experiences on their OTT services. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to have the correct spelling of Ralf Jacob.