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Brit tech brings in-stream ads to Canadian TV webcast

Works on iPads without app, lets you fast-forward

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The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is deploying VoD technology from UK-based YoSpace, enabling targeted adverts to be dropped into the stream like it's 1999.

Adverts at the beginning and end of a video stream are old hat, and popping up a text overlay (a la YouTube) is positively primitive, so YoSpace creates a proper advertisement break – complete with programme-identifying brackets – and drops it into the video stream without requiring the client application to do anything at all.

That's important as the CBC wanted the content delivered to the iPad, but didn't want to have to develop an iOS application specially. They also wanted to provide longer content – films and such – which can't be financed by headers and footers alone. A side-effect of the tech means that the user-targeted selection of adverts can also be delivered to any device receiving the stream, without the device having to be aware of it.

Slipping adverts into a video stream is harder than it appears: the YouTube website, for example, can push an advert out ahead of a video, but the various YouTube client apps can't manage that, so the content just doesn't appear.

So, for example, on an Android phone the YouTube app claims not to have heard of Drop the Dead Donkey, but visit the YouTube website (using the same device) and you can call up any episode of the '90s journalistic sitcom which will run full-screen (preceded by an advert or two).

iPhone users, of course, can't use the Flash-based website, so just have to do without classic British comedies as Channel 4 (which owns Drop the Dead Donkey) can't make any money out of the content without being able to push an advert out first.

Equally, as the video supplied by YoSpace is just that, users can fast-forward over adverts just as they can skip over any other part of the video, but the CBC is relying on the fact that the majority of viewers won't bother.

Interestingly the CTO of YoSpace told us that the use of HTTP streams, rather than RMTP, gives greater control over the video being delivered.

But the important thing is that it enables companies to finance their content by inserting proper advertisement breaks, hopefully long enough to get the kettle on before dashing back to one's seat in the best 20th century fashion. ®

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