Making the Transition to HTML5 Video with Adobe Primetime
by Jens Loeffler
posted on 04-19-2017
Streaming TV providers face a big challenge: transitioning from Flash to HTML5 to reach as many screens as possible.
At Adobe, we understand this challenge. We’ve helped major media companies transition successfully to HTML5, and have a long history of delivering quality, reliability, and performance at scale. We ensure that even companies with the most sophisticated requirements can deliver HTML5 video everywhere it runs, including mobile and web browsers, as well as apps on Android, iOS, Smart TVs and connected TV devices such as Chromecast and Amazon Fire.
To help media companies migrate from Flash to HTML5, we’ve developed The Ultimate Technical Guide for the Flash-to-HTML5 Transition.
- Part 1 addresses HTML5 basics, including how HTML5 video evolved from a basic industry standard with limited usefulness for broadcasters, to a mature stack that now addresses premium TV use cases.
- Part 2 covers HTML5 security, including why we need DRM in HTML5 and the fundamentals of how it works.
- Part 3 discusses HTML5 deployment best practices for multi-DRM, ad insertion, and cross-device optimizations.
Here, in Part 4, we conclude with eight ways that Adobe can help smooth the transition to HTML5 video.
1. Leverage the technical optimizations of an established video technology platform
If you go down the path of building your own HTML5 video player, you’ll quickly realize that solving for the problem of fragmentation across browsers, devices, and platforms is not the best use your developers’ time.
Adobe Primetime increases developer productivity by 59% by handling browser, device, and platform optimizations for you. It includes a smart heuristic engine that understands the capabilities of each playback environment and makes any adjustments needed to provide a seamless consumer experience. Primetime provides advanced streaming TV features, including hosted multi-DRM, ad insertion, a flexible UI framework, and analytics that work everywhere your viewers watch your content.
2. Get to market faster with an advanced UI framework
Our customers deploy rich, engaging viewer experiences quickly because Adobe Primetime includes a flexible UI framework that can be modified based on your needs. It supports advanced UI features such as multi-view, picture-in-picture, multi-language, and closed captions.
The Primetime UI framework also includes advanced advertising features to support seamless pre-, mid-, and post-rolls, VPAID ads, and advanced integrations with a broad range of rich media formats.
3. Solve for ad insertion into DRM-protected content
Adobe Primetime is addressing the challenge of ad insertion into protected content by supporting DRM and ad insertion in the player natively. Adobe Primetime can be used to insert ads into MPEG-DASH CENC and encrypted HLS streams, which addresses the majority of HTML5-compliant browsers. With Adobe Primetime, ad insertion into DASH content is handled almost exactly the same as ad insertion into HLS content. For example, creative repackaging and ad rules work for DASH just like they work for HLS, and Adobe Primetime manages the complexity of the nuanced differences between HLS and DASH.
Adobe Primetime will also be able to insert ads into DRM-protected DASH or HLS streams within the Common Media Application Format (CMAF) container format. CMAF is bringing the industry close to a truly unified DRM-protected format. CMAF has been designed to allow fMP4 segments used with MPEG-DASH to coexist with HLS, rather than competing with or supplanting HLS. Our white paper on CMAF covers this topic in more detail.
4. Drive revenue with viewability and advanced advertising integrations
Adobe Primetime works with its customers to enable the viewability and advanced advertising integrations that help drive ad revenue. Many of our customers request viewability integrations with companies like Moat because viewability data helps them optimize for viewability and sell their inventory at higher CPMs.
Other capabilities that we support include HTML5 VPAID advertising and other rich media formats. HTML5 VPAID support is a must-have for ad-supported streaming TV providers following on the heels of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s recommendation to eliminate Flash video ads by July 2017. Adobe Primetime fully supports HTML5 VPAID and Adobe participates actively in the IAB working group driving digital video technical standards. With a browser TVSDK and a native TVSDK for iOS and Android apps, Adobe Primetime provides companies that rely on VPAID with the tools needed to run ads on as many screens as possible.
5. Benefit from streaming video optimizations without doing any of the work
Adobe Primetime continuously works to reduce live latency, improve video startup times, and provide a seamless playback experience. For example, we’re currently working on delay-free live streaming with HTTP/2. We’ve successfully built innovations into our platform like Instant On, which reduces startup time to half a second or less. We’ve also built smart algorithms into our platform, including bitrate stabilization switching for unstable network connections. This work ensures that Adobe Primetime customers get the benefit of streaming video optimizations without allocating developer resources.
6. Use the measurement solutions that are the best for your business
Media companies and advertisers have suffered from a lack of standardized measurement for streaming TV since about 2010, when consumer demand for streaming really started to pick up. This lack of measurement has now been largely solved through innovations from Adobe, Nielsen, and comScore.
There are two ways to measure streaming TV today: via traditional or digital ratings. You’ll soon be able to read about these options and the products that make them possible in our upcoming “Digital Measurement for Streaming TV” white paper.
Regardless of which measurement option is utilized, there are two primary reasons why implementation is easier for Adobe’s media customers. First, Adobe Analytics for Video has released Adobe Certified Metrics, the now standard, certified video implementation through the Adobe SDK that can be used as the census input to audience measurement partners. This SDK fully integrates comScore and Nielsen measurement through the video enablement implementation stage in Adobe Analytics. Second, the Adobe Primetime TVSDK is pre-integrated to fully support the Adobe Certified Metrics SDK. With this, video measurement is enabled by configuration rather than code.
7. Boost viewer engagement with Adobe Primetime recommendations
Adobe Primetime customers can use viewing data from Adobe Analytics to offer personalized video recommendations to each viewer. This is done with Adobe Primetime recommendations, which helps streaming TV providers boost engagement.
Adobe Primetime recommendations has four key advantages. First, it makes the most relevant video recommendations for each viewer using a massive data repository and multiple industry-leading personalization algorithms. Second, it continuously optimizes the recommendations through the use of A/B and multivariate testing. Third, it provides an instant playback experience by telling the Adobe Primetime TVSDK which recommended videos to preload with Instant On. Fourth, it addresses the “cold-start” challenge by using existing analytics data to provide relevant recommendations when a user first engages with video content.
8. Maintain the broadest reach with a Flash fallback solution
HTML5 is the preferred video playback option for modern browsers, devices, and platforms, and all major desktop browsers have announced plans to default to HTML5 media playback, according to the IAB. However, consumers will continue to use legacy browsers that do not support HTML5 video for some time.
In legacy environments, Adobe Primetime customers benefit from our Flash video fallback solution. By delivering HTML5 video wherever possible and then reverting to Flash video everywhere else, Adobe Primetime provides the greatest possible reach in modern and legacy environments while supporting the same feature set across our HTML5 and Flash fallback solutions.
A smooth transition to HTML5 video with Adobe Primetime
If you’re leading an organization through its transition from Flash to HTML5, choose a path that allows you to move quickly and effectively. Adobe has anticipated and solved the challenges involved with the transition to HTML5, and we look forward to continuing to help industry participants adapt the latest and most robust open technology standards.
Products: Experience Cloud