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  • Writer's pictureJoe Walsh

IBC 2023 in Review: CSAI-SSAI Debate Settled; Publishers Losing Sleep Over Render Rates


IBC 2023 did not disappoint. Over 43,000 attendees from 170 countries attended this year’s event to discuss, demonstrate, and learn about the most important products, solutions, and developments in the media, entertainment, and technology industries.


This year’s event was the first time the Amazon Web Services booth featured a dedicated Monetization pod. Based on the crowded demo area, it’s clear ad-supported streamers are searching for the best-in-class ways to maximize their content and inventory offerings. As we wrote about before the event, the Penthera team played a critical role in demonstrating one of those featured, best-in-class solutions.


We collaborated with AWS’s Elemental MediaTailor and Data-as-a-Service provider DataZoom on a demonstration in the Monetization pod. Together, we showed, via DataZoom’s analytics solution, how the combination of our 2nd Look product and the Elemental MediaTailor ad stitcher enables real-time ad pod construction in Server-Side Ad Insertion for an overall better monetization solution than Client-Side Ad Insertion.


Here are some other trends and findings from IBC that stood out most to our team.


Winner of CSAI vs SSAI Debate Is Clear

Our demo in the AWS booth included a side-by-side comparison of a stream using CSAI and the SSAI stream using 2nd Look and Elemental MediaTailor. Based on the feedback from the numerous publishers we met, including ones currently using CSAI, it’s clear SSAI is the clear preference amongst leading ad-supported streamers for the best viewer experience. This highlights a trend we have observed over the past few years with publishers largely moving from CSAI to SSAI and sticking with it.


Render Rates, Rightfully, Are Top Of Mind


At IBC, one thing was very clear: publishers want to fix their render rates.


Render rate is the ratio of the number of ads actually delivered divided by the number of ads decisioned for a particular stream. Low render rates can have significant revenue impacts for ad-supported publishers. Because we were demoing a solution that can dramatically improve render rates for publishers using SSAI, we had a lot of discussions on this topic.


Publishers using CSAI explained they are hesitant to move to SSAI because they anticipate negative impacts to their render rates. Publishers on SSAI, on the other hand, are experiencing issues with demand due to lower render rates. While render rate hasn’t been a hot topic in the trade media, we know from our discussions that publishers are focused on it.


AI is Not the Future … It’s the Present


Did you really think we’d talk about one of the marquee events at the crossroads of the media, entertainment, and technology industries and not talk about Artificial Intelligence?

The list of AI offerings that piqued our interest is way too long to cover here. There were solutions to aid content

production and post-production. There were also tools that further the capabilities for personalization and discovery of content. We do want to highlight ThinkAnalytics, who joined us in the Monetization pod and demonstrated a generative AI solution that uses natural language to generate personalized content and programming recommendations. The solution will help reach dormant users who are at risk of churn.


We’ll see you in Amsterdam in 2024!

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