SSAI and how is it critical to FAST Channel Delivery – Free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels are a growing trend in the video streaming market, as viewers seek more variety and affordability. According to a report by LG Ads, 60 percent of U.S. households now watch FAST channels, which offer linear, passive and ad-supported programming on over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) platforms. FAST channels are especially appealing to cord-cutters, who can enjoy a similar experience to traditional TV without paying a monthly fee.
If you want to monetize your FAST channel, one of the best options is to use server-side ad insertion (SSAI).
What is SSAI?
SSAI, also known as dynamic ad insertion (DAI), is the process of dynamically inserting ads into video content. It allows you to stitch together ads and videos on the server side, rather than on the client side, which gives you more control and customization over your ad delivery.
Whether you are a media distributor or a content owner, SSAI can enhance your ad insertion and improve your viewer experience. Unlike client-side ads, which rely on third-party sources such as Google Ads, SpotX, and AppNexus, SSAI enables you to use your own ad inventory or sell it programmatically to buyers.
SSAI has many benefits for FAST channel owners, such as:
- Preventing ad blocking: Because SSAI blends ads and videos seamlessly, it makes it harder for ad blockers to detect and block them. This means that more viewers will see your ads, which will increase your impressions and revenue.
- Enabling targeted and hyper-local ads: With SSAI, you can use data and analytics to deliver personalized and relevant ads to your viewers, based on their location, preferences, behavior, and other criteria. This will increase your ad performance and value, as targeted ads can generate five to 10 times higher revenue than non-targeted ads.
- Improving ad quality and consistency: SSAI ensures that your ads are delivered in the same format and quality as your video content, without any buffering or latency issues. This creates a smoother and less disruptive viewing experience for your audience, which can boost your retention and engagement rates.
- Supporting live-streaming content: SSAI works well with live-streaming content, as it can insert ads in real time without interrupting the flow of the stream. This can help you monetize your live events and sports broadcasts more effectively.
- Providing ad view metrics: SSAI allows you to track and measure your ad views and performance more accurately, as it eliminates the discrepancies that may arise from different devices and platforms. This can help you optimize your ad strategy and revenue.
Considerations When Monetizing Your FAST Channel
While SSAI offers many advantages for FAST channel owners, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed. Some of these are:
- Avoiding ad repetition: One of the common complaints from viewers is seeing the same ads over and over again on FAST channels. This can reduce the effectiveness and appeal of your ads, and annoy your audience. To avoid this, you need to use tools that can enable prefetching, which means requesting an ad from the ad server before the break starts. This can help increase your fill and render rates, and diversify your ad inventory.
- Organizing data about channel performance: Another challenge for FAST channel owners is collecting and organizing data about their channel performance, such as viewership, engagement, retention, and revenue. Because FAST is a relatively new phenomenon, the methods and standards for tracking this information are still evolving. You need to use tools that can provide you with reliable and comprehensive data that can help you evaluate and improve your channel performance.
- Negotiating with platforms: A final challenge for FAST channel owners is dealing with the platforms that host their channels, such as Samsung TV Plus, Pluto TV, or Plex. These platforms may have different rules and requirements for using SSAI and sharing ad revenue with channel owners. Some platforms may even want to bring ad insertion in-house, which can limit your control and flexibility over your ad delivery. You need to negotiate with these platforms carefully and find a balance between their interests and yours.
Despite these challenges, FAST channels are a promising opportunity for monetizing your video content in the streaming era. Viewers seem to appreciate the value proposition of FAST channels, as they offer free and diverse content with shorter and higher-quality ad breaks than cable or satellite TV.
If you want to learn more about FAST channels and how to monetize them effectively using SSAI, download our free white paper: Into the FAST Lane: 5 Essential Tactics for Starting a FAST Channel