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2 The year 2008 was the year when the importance of rich online media as a form of content distribution and consumption was established beyond any doubt. Take, for example, the 2008 Summer Olympics Games in Beijing, when attracted close to 6½ million users daily, who, on average, stayed more than 13 minutes per visit and spent more than 27 minutes when consuming video. In total, users watched more than 6 million hours of video content or 60 million video streams, which represents a 5-fold and 20-fold increase compared to the Torino and Athens games combined. Not only the number of users, but also the viewing time marks a big difference. In the past, online video consumption was limited to snippets of video, now the prolonged viewing indicates that users enjoy the experience and find the image and sound quality acceptable. Worldwide, billions of videos are viewed online every month. In the first half of 2008, for the first time, some territories such as the United Kingdom saw growth in online advertising spend massively outpace growth in spending across other media. OFCOM recently reported that online advertising revenue in the United Kingdom for 2007 was 2.8 billion while TV ad revenue from terrestrial broadcasters was 2.4 billion. As the migration of ad spending to online spending continues to follow consumer media consumption patterns, advertisers need to be where people spend most of their time. However, in the second half of 2008, the global economic downturn has led to a much bigger impact on advertising budgets generally. Clients are scrutinizing how their ad money is being spent across digital and analog channels, and effective business intelligence (BI) reporting and analysis to monitor campaign effectiveness is becoming more important than ever. Furthermore, content and monetization strategies are constantly refined to meet this lightning pace of market evolution. Those involved in online video from content production companies and home micro-producers to broadcasters, publishers, and other content distributors all realize that the monetization of both content and audiences will become a priority, as nobody can afford to endlessly produce and distribute video content for free. Advertising-funded and pay-forcontent business models are playing the lead role in turning video on the Web into a profitable business. Until now, setting up an online video service was a complex undertaking and fraught with difficulties, and the process of preparing, loading, and delivering multimedia content, combined with the serving of appropriate advertising, required a lot of manual work and did not really scale very well. This white paper introduces an end-to-end blueprint for video services delivered using the Web, developed by Microsoft and its partners. It encompasses business models for online video services, a sample client design providing a state-of-the-art user experience, and the back-end software architecture to support a commercial online video service. The front-end components not only deliver video, audio, images, and a variety of advertising formats, but they support different interaction models and combine a player functionality, content exploration and 2

3 communications tools, community services, and customization options into a truly engaging user experience. The back-end software architecture shows how Microsoft server products and services can be used for content loading and preparation, content protection, content delivery, content marketing, contextual and targeted advertising, customer relationship management (CRM), customer profiling, analytics, and reporting. Our goal was to address the needs of those who produce, distribute, and deliver online video services to users via the Internet in a coherent and consistent way, end to end. As the market for online video services evolves, so will this blueprint. We understand that where you stand in the process defines your needs. This paper shows how you can use the Microsoft platform to overcome your specific challenges and stay one step ahead of the market. Acknowledgements This white paper was developed by the Worldwide Media & Entertainment Industry Management team at Microsoft Corporation, working with Microsoft s Developer and Platform Evangelist group, Microsoft product groups, and partners. For more information For more information about the blueprint proposed through this white paper and for more information about the products and services mentioned therein, please contact your Microsoft account team or visit 3

4 Contents 1 Executive summary Business benefits Reach, engage, and retain audiences Provide a differentiated value proposition for advertisers Enable future rich media services A Microsoft blueprint for online video services Business models Free to view Pay-for-content Types of pay-for-content models Subscriptions Pay-to-view and pay-to-rent Pay-to-own Windowing Considerations for effective pay-for-content models Advertising-funded business models Online video advertising formats Contextual advertising Targeted advertising Considerations for effective online advertising Measuring the effectiveness of advertising Other elements of business models User profiling Leveraging/enhancing existing sites Affiliate marketing Sales of themes and skins Sample ad revenue model User experience Overviews Key features Viewing content in the player Selecting scheduled programs with the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) Selecting media brands and promoted content with the selector

5 3.2.4 Discovering content with the content navigator Finding content via search Configuring user preferences Registration Ratings, recommendations, and communications Connected media experiences User roles and user journeys User roles and personas End user personas Miguel Media Explorer Adia End User Carles End User Back-office user roles Ad Sales Manager Media Buyer Content Manager Executive Producer Content Marketer User Experience Designer User journeys Example end-user journeys Example back-office user journeys Example external user journeys Business functions Overview Digital content management (DCM) Digital content distribution User experience delivery User experience adaptation Advertising E-commerce Digital rights management (DRM) Customer relationship management (CRM) Attract and retain users Community

6 5.12 Analytics and reporting Reports for Executive Producers Reports for Ad Sales Managers and Media Buyers Reports for Content Marketers Reports for Content Managers Microsoft s blueprint for online video services Overview Solution architecture Presentation layer User experience delivery Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Silverlight User experience adaptation Microsoft Expression Studio Services layer Digital content management Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Digital content distribution Windows Media Services, Internet Information Services 7.0 Media Pack, Move Networks Advertising Fast AdMomentum E-commerce Microsoft Commerce Server Digital rights management Microsoft PlayReady Customer relationship management Microsoft Dynamics CRM Attracting and retaining users FAST ESP, FAST Recommendations Community services Windows Live Analytics & Reporting Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft PerformancePoint Server, Microsoft Commerce Server Data storage layer Integrating with existing systems and third-party services Phased deployment example scenario Phase 1: Digital content management and delivery Phase 2: Monetization Phase 3: Attracting and retaining users and community services Phase 4: Analytics and reporting Phase 5: Customer relationship management Phase 6: User experience adaptation

7 1 Executive summary Our lifestyles are changing: We are becoming more mobile in our work and social lives. This has an impact on how we use media, and on what we expect from media: We increasingly expect content to be available anytime, anywhere, on any device, and we want more control over the content we consume, including when and how we watch a movie or a TV show. Customers and advertisers demand more, and the opportunity for media and telecommunications companies is huge: Online video not only attracts larger audiences than traditional static Web content, it also is a compelling new advertising medium, for example, because video ads are considered much more engaging than traditional banner ads. Rules for targeting and contextual placement of ads can help to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time, increasing the efficiency of ad campaigns, and real-time reporting provides advertisers with nearimmediate insight into campaign effectiveness. All this makes commercial online video services a potentially very profitable business. Building a successful online video service, though, remains a challenge for media and telecommunications companies. It often requires custom development, integrating several separate products, defining interfaces, data models, and workflows. And while time-to-market often is crucial for success as consumers attitudes and behaviors in consuming online content are rapidly evolving, all this consumes time and introduces risk and complexity. Using a standardized white-label online video service from a third party may seem a pragmatic solution but creates new dependencies, takes away differentiation options, and may disinter mediate audience and advertiser relationships. Finally, operating an online video service in many cases is more labor intensive than it should be, because many back-end processes for content loading and preparation, and for ad booking, are manual and inefficient. In many deployments, workflow optimization and automation have not been an area of focus during the design phase, causing increased operating costs. The Microsoft blueprint for online video services, as proposed through this white paper, is intended to help providers succeed with commercial online video services to help them get started more quickly, reduce the cost and risk associated with bespoke implementations, develop a differentiated value proposition to consumers and advertisers, and effectively monetize their offerings. The consumer front ends are intended to provide a rich and interactive experience through which all types of video services can be consumed (for example, live TV, catch-up TV, and video on demand), across a variety of different devices. The front-end components of this blueprint include a media player, a customizable electronic program guide, various methods of searching for and selecting content, and integration with messaging and community services. But this blueprint is not just about the consumer experience. It also includes a complete back-end infrastructure for loading content and preparing it for distribution, an e-commerce module supporting pay content business models, an advertising module for monetization through contextual and targeted advertising, plus reporting and CRM modules. 7

8 On the business side, this white paper discusses various business models for monetizing online video services. While the basic sources of revenue subscriptions, transactions, and advertising are the same as in traditional video media, online video services require the business models to be adapted to the user expectations and advertiser demands in online media. Solutions based on this blueprint will support a combination of pay-for-content and ad funding, the business model most likely to be successful for online video. This blueprint for online video services is based on the experience gathered by Microsoft and its partners through dozens of online media projects. It identifies the key business processes and explains how these can be supported by Microsoft products and services. The business benefits of solutions based on this blueprint are described in the following section 0. An overview of the business functions covered in this blueprint is given in section 1.2 below. 8

9 1.1 Business benefits Reach, engage, and retain audiences Online video services delivered using the Web provide an opportunity to attract new audiences and build deeper, multichannel relationships with them, retaining users as they choose among different channels to consume content. Solutions based on this blueprint help to engage users more intensely through a differentiated user experience with a look and feel that is customizable. As shown in Figure 1, the end-user interface is not just a media player or an electronic program guide but a composition of different functional elements that enable both an interactive ( lean-forward ) and a passive ( lean-backward ) experience. Its key features are inspired by the best practice in online video and include the following: Tools for content discovery and program selection, including tools to explore available content and search for content, an electronic program guide, and promotions, ratings, and recommendations A video player that supports in-portal, full-screen, and detached mini-player modes Messaging and community features Advertising opportunities around each functional element and also embedded within each element Figure 1: Example of an end-user interface based on this blueprint With solutions based on this blueprint, online video services providers can also enhance the positioning of the media brand. They can build content awareness and content purchase intent (for example, pay content) through a composite of different functional elements such as the 9

10 Electronic Program Guide (EPG) (section 3.2.2), the content selector (section 3.2.3), and the content navigator (section 3.2.4). Each of the functional elements of the front-end and the interactions with these elements present opportunities for users to experience the media brand and content, explore more content, and engage with the brand. The user experience described in this blueprint is designed to become a user s online video portal : Because it accommodates a variety of content delivery networks, users can aggregate and view all their content choices in one place not just on-demand content, but any combination of live and catch-up content as well as on-demand content. Users will not have to depend on different media players, different applications, and different Web sites to listen to audio and view videos, but can use a single front end to aggregate all their favorite content into one place and control how it is presented Provide a differentiated value proposition for advertisers Rich media applications based on this blueprint enable a broad spectrum of marketing opportunities banner advertising, in-stream advertising, promotional content, sponsored links, and recommendations, which can be combined for maximum brand engagement. The proposed digital advertising solutions support behavioral targeting as well as contextual advertising, optimizing advertising effectiveness, and driving ad space sales at much higher prices than traditional online advertising. Extensive analysis and reporting capabilities enable better tracking of user interactions and campaign effectiveness, helping advertisers to make insightful decisions on their campaign strategy. When changes to the campaign are needed, the proposed integrated design shortens time to market of new ad content by dynamically refreshing metadata and ad creative Enable future rich media services Online video is an evolving market, and service providers need to evolve their offerings to stay competitive. The modular, services-oriented architecture (SOA) proposed in this blueprint provides the extensibility and scalability to support future rich media services across multiple digital channels: Its client application can be adapted to meet the service provider s specific needs for branding and functionality. Its three-tier design and the open interfaces of its services enable service providers to combine existing with new services, on-premise services with hosted and cloud services. Its workflows are configurable to support specific business processes. Its digital rights management capability protects content from unauthorized duplication while enabling the delivery and sharing of content across devices and platforms. Solutions based on this blueprint help service providers to get started quickly but also to keep their options open regarding future enhancements of the service. 10

11 1.2 A Microsoft blueprint for online video services Figure 2 provides an overview of the Microsoft blueprint for online video services proposed through this white paper. The blueprint describes the business functions, user roles, and processes required for operating a commercial online video service and explains how these can be supported by Microsoft products and services. Figure 2: Business functions in online video In the following chapters, we explain this blueprint in more detail. We begin with a review of the business models for monetizing online video services in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 introduces the proposed end-user experience and its functional elements. The personas of typical end users we had in mind when designing the end-user experience are described in Chapter 4, along with the internal and external user roles required to operate an online video service. The business functions required for running an online video service and how they can be supported using Microsoft products and services are explained in chapters 0 and 6. Chapter 7 describes an example scenario for a phased, step-by-step deployment of this blueprint. 11

12 2 Business models Online video services based on this blueprint enable a variety of different business models for monetizing content and audiences free to view, pay-for-content as well as advertisingfunded business models and any combination of these. In the following sections, these business models and how they are supported by the business functions in this blueprint are described in more detail. 2.1 Free to view The most basic business model supported by this blueprint is the free to view model, where the content provider makes content available at no charge. Typically, this model works best for mainstream (non-premium) content, and it is typically combined with an ad-funded business model. Each viewer, though, makes a deal with the content provider a subliminal contract describing what the viewer expects to get from the overall experience and what the viewer is willing to give or accept in time, attention, personal data, and exposure to advertising. This blueprint offers several possibilities for such deals between content providers and viewers, like promoting content by recommending it to a friend in exchange for free content. The service provider also might aim at increasing the time spent with the service through a loyalty program or through cross-channel promotions. The necessary processes are supported by several business functions Attract and Retain Users, E-Commerce, CRM, and Community, as described in Chapter 0 below. They enable consumers to share recommendations and they enable Content Marketers to manage promotions, loyalty programs, and customer profiles. They also track customer interaction histories. 2.2 Pay-for-content Some content, including some kinds of premium and special interest content, can be monetized most effectively through pay-for-content models. Online video services based on this blueprint support subscriptions, pay-to-view and pay-to-own business models, and windowing. In this blueprint, pay-for-content models are supported mainly through the E-Commerce business function, which enables content providers to define commercial offerings (subscriptions, rentals, purchases) and associate them with any selection of content objects. Also, the E-Commerce business function enables promotions, discounts, and bundles, and enables content providers to make targeted offers based on the user s purchase history. To protect content from unauthorized duplication or distribution, this blueprint includes digital rights management as a business function, enabling end-to-end content protection along the content value chain Types of pay-for-content models Subscriptions In a subscription-based business model, the user pays a monthly or yearly fee for access to a selection of content defined by the content provider. While in traditional TV this selection 12

13 typically is a TV channel, online video services based on this blueprint can provide this selection as either a channel or any combination of on-demand video items bundled together based on various criteria: The content items may be part of a series, they may belong to the same genre, or they may be a mix defined by the content provider or user. Thus, this blueprint enables more versatile subscription-based business models Pay-to-view and pay-to-rent In a pay-to-view or pay-to-rent business model, the user pays for viewing the content for a certain period of time, for a number of times and/or on a certain set of devices. Contrary to the pay-to-own business model described in section below, the user s right to see the content expires after a certain period of time or after a number of exhibits. In the pay-to-view business model, the user may or may not be allowed to share content with other users. Solutions based on this blueprint not only support simple pay-to-view models where the user can play back the content only once, but they also support multiple exhibits across multiple devices, and the option of sharing content with friends Pay-to-own The key difference between pay-to-own and pay-to-view is that the user s right to play back the content does not expire, and that the user may transfer this right to other users. For live content, pay-to-own models may include the right to record the content as it is being streamed, storing it for later reuse on a hard disk or a portable medium. Online video services based on this blueprint not only support simple pay-to-own models where the user can only store and play back the content on one device, but they also support replicating the content to multiple devices, and the option of transferring rights to others Windowing As consumers are demanding content early, windowing that is making content accessible at a premium before it is broadly distributed can generate additional revenue from fans willing to pay more for earlier access. For content that appeals to a fan audience, windowing is an effective way of increasing the total revenue through the content life cycle. Online video services based on this blueprint enable windowing because they can provide instant access to content after its release without the latencies inherent in traditional distribution channels like cinemas, DVDs, and television Considerations for effective pay-for-content models Pay video content delivered through the Web addresses the growing global video-on-demand market. In a 2008 report on growth in global entertainment and media, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicts that the global video-on-demand market would be worth $12 billion in This is up from $4.2 billion in 2007, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5 percent. This excludes revenues from advertising, which are expected to account for a large portion of total revenue, and tape and DVD video rentals. 13

14 Table 1: Global outlook on pay-for-content revenue in video on-demand (in U.S.$ millions) Among the pay-for-content models in video, subscription-based models are most widespread: In 2008, they are expected to account for almost 80 percent of the total pay-for-content revenue. But in past years, video on-demand and mobile TV revenues have grown significantly, and by 2012, they are expected to account for 4.2 percent and 6.4 percent of the total pay-for-content market in video, respectively. Future content consumption choices These categories, though subscriptions, video on-demand, and pay-per-view have been coined by history, but we expect that in the future, online rich media content will be selected, consumed, and paid for based on simpler, convergent user experiences. The blueprint proposed through this white paper supports these convergent user experiences. For instance, if the user is watching an episode of Lost, her interest in viewing other content is likely to be determined by contextual nearness, not by the subscription model. If she has missed last week s episode, she might want to watch that first or maybe she has missed a month s worth of previous episodes and wants to catch up on those before watching the latest episode. Enabling the user to catch up on a developing story makes it more likely she will be interested in watching next week s episode. Monetizing these choices requires making the right (contextually relevant) content offers at the right point in time, and it requires flexibility in how users are charged for these offers. To encourage the user to catch up on a series, the last four episodes may be offered as a bundle at a discounted price, while the ability to watch next week s episode today may come at a premium. Moreover, having spent a Sunday afternoon watching Lost, the user may leave the house for a dinner appointment but may want to continue watching the last episode while in transit, on a mobile phone or on a portable device. And when in an airport lounge waiting for a return flight on the next day, the user may want to continue watching on a laptop. 14

15 Variations on all of these choices currently exist. But online rich media services based on this blueprint enable a convergence of all these choices and the methods by which to pay for them comfortably and securely. This ease of use may have a significant positive impact on consumer engagement with pay models. 2.3 Advertising-funded business models Most content can be monetized most effectively through advertising-funded business models. In addition to traditional banner ads, online video services, based on this blueprint, support a wide range of in-stream video ad formats, as defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB): Linear ads, non-linear ads and companion ads (for a detailed explanation of these ad formats, see section 2.3.1). In addition, they enable contextual placement of ads through topic keywords, and targeting of ads based on user profile data, user preferences, and user interaction history. In this blueprint, ad-funded business models are enabled by the advertising business function supported by a digital advertising solution. Publishers use publisher tools to specify the demographics they attract, and the editorial context they provide. Advertisers use buyer tools to manage ad campaigns and select a medium and ad keywords to target an audience and place their ads in the appropriate editorial context. On the display side, both linear video ad formats like prerolls and interstitials and non-linear video ad formats like overlays, underlays, animations, and picture-in-picture ads are supported. The blueprint proposed through this white paper takes online video advertising far beyond the pre-roll and post-roll ads common today, bringing the full potential of online video advertising to bear. These capabilities should translate into real business value for both content service providers and advertisers. According to the research group Dynamic Logic, the most effective online video ads are likely to generate much higher increases in awareness than the most effective static online banner ads Online video advertising formats The IAB has published digital video ad format guidelines and recommendations for best practices, which are increasingly being adopted by most online video service providers. The main distinction in in-stream video advertising formats is between linear and non-linear formats. Linear video ads are displayed in sequence before, during, or after the main video content. IAB recommends that the duration of such linear video ads should not exceed 15 seconds. One of the key characteristics of a linear video ad is that the ad demands the full attention from the user as the ad takes over the user experience entirely, typically for a bounded period of time. However, in the case of the interactive ad format, the full ad experience may be open-ended. In contrast, non-linear ad formats run in parallel to the main content experience. As a result, most non-linear formats employ multiple stages to the ad display. Initially, there is some form of invitation or teaser unit that invites the user to further interact and usually expand the ad unit. A key characteristic of non-linear ad formats is that the user may continue to view content while the initial ad is displayed. Figure 3 provides an overview of the different types of ads, as defined by the IAB. 15

16 Figure 3: Different types of video ads, as defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (2008) A third category, called companion ads, can be combined with both linear and non-linear video ads and are commonly text, banners, rich media, or video player skins that wrap around the video experience. Companion ads can run alongside either or both the video or ad content. The primary purpose of the companion ad is to offer sustained visibility of, for example, the sponsor throughout the video content experience Contextual advertising Ads placed in the appropriate context are believed to have a greater chance of attracting a user, because they tend to have more relevance to the user s tastes. Contextual advertising is about providing ads that are related to the context of what the user is watching or the actual context of their chosen viewing environment. With online video services based on this blueprint, there are many opportunities to offer both display ads and in-stream video ads based on the context of what the user is watching or the context of the situation governed by an external event in the environment. For example, a local weather forecast for severe rain could prompt umbrella ads. In the example below, a Clairol Nice & Easy hair product pre-roll video ad is displayed during a commercial break of the movie The Devil Wears Prada where a lead character is known for having beautiful red hair. 16

17 Figure 4: Example for contextual placement of a display ad The contextual ad displayed in Figure 4 is recognized through the matching of topic keywords related to the content to ad keywords. This means that graphical or text-only ads corresponding to the topic keywords are displayed and are, therefore, always relevant to the context. Another example might include a search query for flowers returning an advertisement for a florist s Web site or the selection of the Gardening Channel, resulting in advertising for greenhouses. Topic keywords can be associated with a piece of video content (a title) and in some cases be derived from available metadata (for example, movie title, actors names, genre, abstract, etc.). Solutions based on this blueprint also allow for topic keywords to be inserted along the timeline of the video as in specific scenes (as shown in the example in Figure 5) or even generated through search queries, news feeds, or other sources to enable the serving of contextual advertising. Figure 5 below shows how topic keywords can be added along the timeline of video content. In the example, topic keywords such as Mercedes-Benz and Luxury Automobile are added to this specific scene. Figure 5: Example of inserting topic keywords at specific time code markers 17

18 The markers can then be used to drive and source appropriate ads from the advertising solution. Moreover, the advertising solution can save groups of keywords under subject-specific (or other) headings to make future content tagging even easier. As a result, appropriate ads can be sourced that match these keywords. In the example in Figure 7, the Mercedes-Benz video ad is used as a pre-roll to The Devil Wears Prada as the topic keywords associated with the main video indicate that a Mercedes-Benz appears in a specific upcoming scene. Figure 6: Example for the contextual placement of a pre-roll video ad Furthermore, contextual ads can also be served at specific markers during the playback of video content as demonstrated in Figure 8. However, it is important to note that this can be seen as disruptive to the user experience something that should be considered when designing the user interface. Figure 7: Example for the contextual placement of display ads 18

19 Another technique that can be enabled by solutions based on this blueprint involves embedding keyword hyperlinks in content that is sponsored by an advertiser. When a user follows the link, they are sent to a sponsor s Web site or other desired destination. As contextual advertising is still in its infancy, it is yet to reach its full potential. As the process and technological capabilities become more refined, it is likely that results will improve. One method of reaching such potential may well be combining contextual with targeted advertising (section 2.3.3) Targeted advertising Targeted advertising (also known as behavioral targeting) enables advertisers to target their ads at an audience based on the users profiles, preferences, and past behavior; it enables publishers to offer higher-value inventory commanding higher prices and generating more revenue, as advertisers know that it is an effective methodology. Solutions based on this blueprint not only offer contextual advertising capabilities, but also behavioral targeting capabilities, which can be combined for maximum effectiveness. While it is commonly accepted that contextual placement of advertising increases its effectiveness, it is worth noting that targeting i.e., delivering the ad to an audience interested in the product or service advertised seems likely to have even greater impact on brand preference and engagement, as research 1 carried out by Yahoo and MediaVest indicates. Solutions based on this blueprint allow advertising to be targeted based on a user s profile data, user-configured preferences, and the user s past behavior, typically recorded by the user s past clickstream, (i.e., his/her past navigation through the application). The user s profile data can be captured during a registration process, while user preferences are gathered when the user configures the online video client to their liking by selecting favorite channels, favorite programs, and other data. Clickstream can provide even more useful and relevant data. For example, if a user is known to have recently visited a number of automotive shopping/price comparison sites, based on clickstream analysis enabled by cookies stored on the user s computer, then that user can then be served auto-related ads when using the online video service. (Of course, installing a cookie on the user s computer should only be done with the user s consent.) For example, meet Adia in Figure 8, our discerning content consumer. We know from her user profile, stored preferences, and clickstream analysis that she likes luxury brands and cars and is a big fan of Shakira. 1 Yahoo, MediaVest Study: Out-of-Context Ads Effective, September 27, 2007, Mediaweb 19

20 Figure 8: Adia Navarro, a consumer user persona Adia is using the video player watching the TV program Lost. When she pauses the content playback, an overlay ad of the Shakira Live DVD displays. The overlay ad is just one type of targeted ad display. Figure 9: Example for the targeted placement of a picture-in-picture video ad Considerations for effective online advertising Solutions based on this blueprint can make online video advertising more effective for both content service providers and advertisers in several ways: They present an opportunity to optimize effectiveness and yield with both targeted advertising and contextual advertising. They even enable for both these forms of advertising to be combined for maximum effect. And finally, they allow for a reduced time-to-market of new ad content via dynamically refreshing keyword groups, improved linkage to marketing campaigns and ready interfaces for external ad booking systems and other advertising engines. 20

21 Figure 10: Example for combining contextual and targeted placement of a display ad For example, the Mercedes-Benz display ad in the bottom left of the screen shown in Figure 10 is a combined contextual and targeted ad because it not only relates to Adia s user profile and preferences, but also to the context of what she is watching, in this case The Devil Wears Prada that has a scene in which the Mercedes-Benz car appears. In the example in Figure 11, not only does a Windows Mobile software ad appear (reflecting the context of mobile phones appearing in the main video), but the type of mobile phones that appear on the bar at the bottom of the screen may be tailored to her tastes. Because her user profile might indicate she has preferences for personal digital assistants (PDAs), the Windows Mobile content is combined with a selection of PDAs to maximize relevancy and impact. Figure 11: Example for contextual placement of a display ad, with targeted product offerings We believe that success for advertising in online video is all about simplicity, relevance, and placement: Simplicity because ads must not be too complex that they distract attention away from the main content; Relevance in that ads must be relevant to the audience for example, advertising a sci-fi action movie like Transformers around an episode of Sex and The City may be seen as irrelevant by audiences; And finally placement (both spatial and temporal), because ads need to inserted carefully without jarring the user experience. An ad taking the entire screen during a key moment in a live event is likely to detract from the user experience and may not stimulate favorable associations. 21

22 Figure 12: Example for contextual placement of a display ad with a video mini player The example in Figure 12 shows the Mercedes-Benz display ad underneath the mini-player model, which is currently playing The Devil Wears Prada. We believe this is an effective ad because it is simple (it does not shift attention away from the main content experience), relevant (both to Adia s user profile and to the content) and also well-placed (underneath the player and also only when The Devil Wears Prada preview is playing). Similarly, the Mercedes-Benz video ad may be displayed as a pre-roll to the movie as opposed to a random insertion at any point during the movie. So simplicity, relevance, and placement are key elements of success with an advertising strategy in online video. We now explore how the effectiveness of advertising specifically, of contextual advertising and targeted advertising can be measured Measuring the effectiveness of advertising Advertising in an online video service based on this blueprint offers brand owners the opportunity to discover which of their products are generating the most interest and sales potential, through reporting that aggregates data from a variety of sources. Methods to measure the effectiveness of advertising are evolving, and which methods to use depend on the client and, if ad-funded models are combined with pay-for-content models, the associated pay-for-content model. Key metrics for measuring the effectiveness of online advertising include cost per impression (CPI), click-through rate (CTR), and the cost per action (CPA). However, the key challenge with measurement that the advertisers and media buyers face is defining how to measure engagement, as in the level of attachment a user has to a brand (both consciously and unconsciously) and the call to action they then take up based on that perception. Call to Action is an extremely important measure for success. Brand owners will want to know whether their investment into placing an ad on a (video) portal is generating a certain level of activity and a certain level of engagement with the ad. In the beginning, click-through rates were considered the epitome of sophisticated online marketing success measurements. The next evolutionary step was to link the last ad seen or clicked with an action, which led to the concept of conversion tracking as a measure of 22

23 advertising effectiveness. More recently, it was understood one needs to evaluate every touch point on the path to conversion to really understand what impacts ad effectiveness. Measuring engagement Measuring engagement is an evolving topic in the world of online advertising at the moment, and there are different variations of how engagement is defined and measured. The technical definition of engagement expresses the level of attention an ad draws from a user, weighing up how effective it is in the real world. Based on this technical definition, measurement should take into account the overall interaction rate; specific interaction with video objects; and viral effects such as video sharing or ing. Of course, the final click-through rate should also be taken into account. But these types of measures are seriously flawed, engagement does not just relate to one ad but all the ads in a series or collection; actually it relates to all the touch points with a brand. So engagement is part of a wider user journey and, therefore, brands need to reach potential customers across a variety of touch points in their journeys. Not all ads are intended to serve the same purpose. Some advertising is targeted at achieving awareness, whereas other advertising seeks to close the deal. Solutions based on this blueprint can be designed to enable complete conversion analysis across the whole user journey to understand which sites, ads, and placements are most effective before the intended action/conversion. 2.4 Other elements of business models User profiling Because solutions based on this blueprint can store user profile data and user preferences, they can provide useful information for guiding marketing campaigns. Such information can contribute towards both internal marketing (where the user is served targeted advertising and receives targeted private messages) and external marketing (where the user has opted in to receive direct marketing content). Information on hobbies, interests, gender, household income, marital status, and lifestyle choices may be gathered through the user registration process. The user may also be asked to provide more details about him/her as part of a deal where content is made available in exchange for profiling information (in section 2.1 above). More accurate customer profiles can lead to better-targeted advertising and marketing, so gathering user profiling data may be an important element of any business model Leveraging/enhancing existing sites High-profile media and social network sites on the World Wide Web attract very large audiences, generating a lot of traffic. For video content providers who own or have access to those sites, it may make sense to embed their online video service into one of those existing sites so that they can harness the traffic generated by those, rather than trying to attract large audiences to a new site. On the other hand, Web sites of video content owners in the past often have been seen as marketing instruments intended to drive audiences to other distribution channels. Until very 23

24 recently, for example, this was true for most broadcasters Web sites. An online video service based on this blueprint can change this. It can be embedded into existing Web sites to enhance their functionality with video, attract more traffic, provide a more compelling experience, and, ultimately, become a new, very cost-effective content distribution channel. So, the ability to embed online video services into existing Web sites is key. Content (and whichever mechanisms are in place to monetize it) needs to be seen by the widest audience possible. Hence, this blueprint provides for open application programming interfaces (APIs) and uses standardized feed formats to facilitate integration with existing sites and content sources Affiliate marketing Another monetization option are affiliate marketing partnerships where certain actions performed by the user result in a new window opening where the user is directed to a specific Web site or premium content offered by another broadcaster. The affiliate would pay a referral or commission fee. Solutions based on this blueprint provide for several opportunities for affiliate marketing. For instance, the operator of the online video service may be a pure content distributor, and the affiliate may be a brand or a channel as shown in Figure 13. Actually, affiliate marketing can also be used to monetize other capabilities of solutions based on this blueprint, like display advertising and in-stream video advertising. Figure 13: Example of affiliate marketing FINAL Sales of themes and skins In the field of mobile telecommunications, the sale of themes and skins has become commonplace. These are less monetized in the online field, mainly due to the availability and ease of access to good-quality free alternatives. However, themes and skins if well-designed and linked to desirable content (for example, music stars, football teams, favorite programs, etc) may well have a market. For instance, a sponsor of a program might be offered the opportunity to provide a branded theme or skin that is applied to the player when this program plays. Even if some users may reject such changes, most will simply 24

25 choose to leave it in place, creating additional brand profile opportunities and opportunities-tosee. Such branding could be monetized through a fixed term agreement with either a fixed rate or perhaps a performance-based compensation. The agreement could be based on a formula, taking into account the number of users that choose to keep the skin and the amount of time they keep the skin. Because certain guidelines need to be observed (no interference with functionality, ability to revert to own preferences, and option to reject branded skins), solutions based on this blueprint enable branded themes and skins within the boundaries of the defined client functionality. Branded skins may be created as part of the user experience adaptation business function. Using appropriate tools, designers may modify the appearance of the client application without changing its functionality. 2.5 Sample ad revenue model In this section, we present a summary model describing how an online video service can be monetized through a combination of display advertising (for example, banner ads) and affiliate or tenancy deals (where revenues are generated through commission). 5,000,000 4,500,000 4,000,000 3,500,000 3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000, ,000 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Affiliate marketing revenue per year Display advertising revenue per year Figure 14: Ad revenue growth for an online video service Figure 14 gives an overview of how ad revenue may develop in time, and the summary model is detailed in Table 2 below. In the following, the assumptions on which the summary model is based are described. Assumptions The model is based on the following assumptions: Online video users: We assume the number of online video users to be 300,000 in the area covered by the online video service. This is about the number of online video users in a medium-sized European country. A Forrester report found that there were approximately 4 million online video subscribers in Europe in

26 Based on a PWC report, we assume the number of online video users to grow by 16.4 percent year over year (YoY). Advert types and ad positions: We assume there are five ad positions in total on the online video portal, two banner ad positions, and two in-stream ad positions (picture-in-picture and pre-roll). Average target Cost per Mille (CPM) rates: We assume the average target CPM rate to be significantly higher for in-stream ads than for banner ads. We further assume the CPM rates to gradually decrease. Percentage of sales through ad sales channels: We assume three sales channels are used to sell the ad inventory a direct sales channel, media agencies, and ad networks. Only a small percentage on premium inventory will be sold through direct sales. Most ad positions are sold through media agencies and ad networks. Eventually, the percentage of ad positions sold through direct sales increases. Cost of sales per ad sales channels: For direct sales, we set the cost of sales to zero, assuming the online advertising would be sold through an existing ad sales department at no incremental cost. For media agency sales, we set the cost of sales to 20 percent, and for ad networks, to 10 percent. We further assumed remnant inventory (the inventory sold through ad networks) will be sold at a 70 percent discount off the target CPM rates. Total number of ad impressions: We assume that only 35 percent of the inventory will be sold in the first year, increasing to 65 percent of sold inventory in the fifth year. Revenue: In addition to the revenue from display advertising, we assume some additional revenue can be generated from affiliate marketing (see section above). 26

27 Traffic Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Unique Users per month 300, , , , ,723 Growth Rate year over year 16.40% 16.40% 16.40% 16.40% 16.40% Ad Impressions per month, per user Ad Impressions per month 3,000,000 2,793,600 2,438,813 3,311,908 3,855,061 Advert Types Banner number of ad positions Banner - Floating number of ad positions In-Stream - Pic in Pic number of ad positions In-Stream - Pre-Roll number of ad positions Total number of ad positions Average target CPM rates Banner avg. target CPM rate Banner - Floating avg. target CPM rate In-Stream - Pic in Pic avg. target CPM rate In-Stream - Pre-Roll avg. target CPM rate Total for all ad avg. CPM rates Percentage of sales through ad sales channels Direct Sales % of total sales 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Media Agency Sales % of total sales 40% 45% 50% 55% 60% Ad Network Sales % of total sales 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Cost of sales per ad sales channel Direct Sales % of revenue (assuming direct sales would be handled by existing ad sales department and not incur incremental cost) Media Agency Sales % of revenue 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% Ad Network Sales % of revenue 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% Discount for Remnant Inventory % of revenue 70% 70% 70% 70% 70% Total number of ad impressions Total Number of Ad Impressions (5 ad positions) per month 15,000,000 13,968,000 12,194,064 16,559,539 19,275,303 Sold Inventory avg. per year 35% 45% 55% 60% 65% Total Number of Sold Ad Impressions (5 ad positions) per month 5,250,000 6,285,600 6,706,735 9,935,723 12,528,947 Revenue per ad sales channel Direct Sales revenue per month 25,200 45,256 53,654 99, ,795 Media Agency Sales revenue per month 80, , , , ,472 Ad Network Sales revenue per month 34,020 32,585 21,730 21,461 11,502 Total revenue per month 139, , , , ,769 Revenue Display advertising revenue per year 1,678,320 2,237,472 2,192,298 3,548,246 4,125,231 Affiliate marketing revenue per year 60, , , , ,000 Total revenue per year 1,738,320 2,345,472 2,342,298 3,758,246 4,395,231 Table 2: Monetization model for an ad-funded online video service 27

28 3 User experience 3.1 Overviews Online video is an emerging, evolving medium that is offering new experiences and encouraging new behaviors from users. Creating compelling online video user experiences may be seen as difficult, but the key to success in this area lies in understanding that the functionality users expect and the behavioral patterns users apply to online video are inspired by both traditional TV and the Web. By applying our knowledge of how users have traditionally engaged with TV and Web-based applications, we are able to create new, immersive, and successful digital experiences for viewing and interacting with video content. Passive versus interactive experiences Traditionally, TV has been classified as a passive user experience. Viewers choose the channel or program they wish to watch and then sit back and watch the program with their family or group or independently. Viewers may be emotionally involved with the content of the program, but only interact with the television set to change channels, change settings, or set recordings. They exercise little or limited control of what they are consuming. By contrast, using computers is an interactive experience where the user continually interacts with an application or Web site. The computer also promotes constant multitasking; for example, working on a document while browsing Web sites or communicating with friends via instant messaging (IM). These tasks are often interdependent, leading to the enrichment of one task (for example, discovery of content online recommended by a friend) and increased communication (sending found content on to friends). The interplay between these tasks is becoming more and more seamless, and these behaviors are increasingly popular. While watching something on TV is usually a passive experience (Figure 15), online video services based on this blueprint offer more of an interactive experience (as shown in Figure 16), providing more control of the content, but also the ability to switch back to a TV-like experience if desired. Figure 15: A passive viewing experience waiting for content and limited control; feel quite distant from the content Figure 16: An interactive viewing experience watching and switching between content as quickly as possible; feel closer to the content 28

29 Combining video content with the type of interactions that users commonly adopt using a computer create experiences that enable users to cycle easily between active engagement to passive viewing and back to interactions. For example, a user may have interacted with an online video service to find a program (active) and then sit back and watch it (passive). The user can then progress to discover related programs or content, to share or comment, and to discover and explore commercials (active). Solutions based on this blueprint help content providers and advertisers explore the numerous commercial opportunities afforded by this cycle. 3.2 Key features The client design proposed in this blueprint enables the user to consume video content in a variety of forms: Live watching live television programming or live event coverage Catch-up/Look-ahead watching television content that was broadcasted in the past within a certain timeframe after the content was broadcasted/watching television content that is scheduled for broadcast within the next few days Video on Demand (VoD) choosing from a catalog of video content and viewing content at any time Figure 17 shows an example of a client user interface that makes the above services available and enables the user to switch from an interactive experience to passive viewing through a desktop PC-style interface that adapts to active and passive use modes. The key features that enable the user to select content are described in the following sections. These features establish the principles of user interaction and the transitions from interactive selection to passive viewing, then from passive viewing back to interactivity stimulated by video content. Figure 17: Ability to switch between a passive and interactive experience 29

30 3.2.1 Viewing content in the player The player is a core component to the client design because it enables the playback of video content and in-stream video advertising. This is the area where the user is watching video content but also interacts with it through commands such as: Play, pause, resume play, and stop. Rewind and fast forward. Adjust volume and mute. Figure 18: Player in full-screen mode with playback controls, mute button, and tabs The player unit is available in three modes window mode, full-screen mode, and mini-player mode. These options are easily accessible by the user through icons and keyboard shortcuts. Options and commands would only be made visible when the mouse is close to or over the rim of the video display area. Window mode describes a mode where the player is displayed inside a window, which may contain other elements like the Electronic Program Guide or the search box. Full screen mode is where the player takes over the whole screen and content is displayed in highest resolution and quality. Mini-player mode is where the player is reduced to gadget-size format, enabling the user to keep an eye on the content (for example, news) while using another application. For instance, a user may choose to watch the news in mini-player mode to be able to work with another application. When something visually interesting comes up in the news program, the user may enlarge the player to window or full-screen mode for better viewing. The user may then switch focus to the content, away from the other application. We believe that this combination of options, which gives the user both a truly interactive experience but also the opportunity to switch to a more passive mode of viewing (i.e., full screen) when required, will meet most users needs. 30

31 3.2.2 Selecting scheduled programs with the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) How it works The EPG allows users to choose what they want to watch from a range of channels and content available. In this design, typically the EPG is based to broadcast TV schedules, but may differ in those cases where TV programs are not licensed for Web TV. To view what is on later today or in the next three days, the user may scroll along the timeline into the future. The broadcaster may choose to offer program information, a program trailer, or even the opportunity to watch the program in advance of its live TV broadcast. Users can also use the EPG for advanced viewing or catch-up viewing because they can use it to find TV programs they want to catch up on or watch again. After seven days, programs are automatically added to the video on-demand library or the content owners back catalog. Figure 19: Electronic program guide How it meets user needs This feature allows users another way to watch broadcast television. It delivers greater flexibility for viewers to choose when and where to watch their broadcaster/program of choice. This flexibility offers more TV viewing options within the household and at work, reducing dependence on the TV schedule because users have a seven- to ten-day time period to watch programs without worrying about recording or missing a show. With this greater schedule-based choice, the user can watch what is on now, what has just been on, what was on a few days ago, and maybe what is on tomorrow. The benefit to scheduled TV is that the catch-up and look-ahead services require the user to make less viewing selections. Also, service providers may offer a TV news summary with weather forecasts plus advertising of national or regional context in short, a prepackaged content selection as a video on-demand item. 31

32 3.2.3 Selecting media brands and promoted content with the selector How it works This option is based on the most common and established way that users decide what to watch. They usually select a particular media brand (for example, the BBC) or a certain channel (for example, Fox News), then watch the content on it. To differentiate between channels, content owners develop brand values that differentiate themselves in the market and offer a way for users to know what sort of content that they can expect from a media brand. In the client proposed in this blueprint, a carousel allows the user to refine her/his selection process to an individual media brand (Figure 20). After selecting a media brand, the user is then offered a range of promoted programs from that media brand through the same carousel control, displayed in a branded style (Figure 21). Figure 20: Media brand selector Figure 21: Promoted content selector How it meets user needs Users often select a trusted source for their viewing and may follow this media brand s suggestions when selecting content. The media brand and promoted content selector uses this knowledge by offering the user an easy way to narrow their search to their preferred content provider, and then further to a promoted program. Once within the branded environment, though, users can access the full functionality including catch-up, look-ahead, and search in a familiar branded environment. By placing this additional functionality within a familiar context, it encourages more cautious users to explore the full potential that solutions based on this blueprint offer Discovering content with the content navigator How it works Rather than simply enabling channel-hopping, the client design proposed in this blueprint offers a new dimension in helping viewers find content that they want to watch. By attaching metadata to programs, series, and even sections (chapters) of programs, users can explore and discover programs by genre, mood, or popularity, through recommendations, and be inspired ( surprise me ) by system-generated suggestions. This metadata can either be supplied by the content 32

33 provider or generated by users, and combining metadata from both sources typically provides most value to users. The content navigator offers descriptors that categorize the content based on different criteria, enabling users to navigate the universe along their chosen axis or criterion. For example, by selecting genre, viewers can drill down into a range of different content genres, like news, entertainment, documentaries, drama, and action. For each genre, a list of available programs is displayed. Results can be sorted alphabetically, by date of production or broadcast and, if available, user rating. The user would also be able to search within these results. The results are displayed as images with the program title and content provider, enabling users to make fast, informed choices. Deeper interaction with the panel reveals additional information, including program description and viewing options. Figure 22: Discovering content with the content navigator To deliver this functionality, only basic metadata like program titles, contributors, production dates, and abstracts is required. To provide an indication of a program s popularity, the number of times a program is viewed on the online video service or published viewing figures may be displayed, or users may be allowed to rate the programs. Recommendations could be sourced from TV review editorial publications or, alternatively, from user-generated reviews. How it meets user needs Viewers watch television to be entertained and informed but their moods, desires, and emotional states vary greatly. The functionality of the proposed client design offers new, targeted ways for viewers to discover programs that match their mood and meet their viewing interests. This usercentered approach increases the likelihood of users finding programming in tune with their needs, likely leading to increased use of the online video service Finding content via search How it works Searching for content is an integral part of user interaction and should replicate the rich, interactive experience offered by other elements of the client design proposed in this blueprint. 33

34 The search functionality offers dynamic visual searching by program title, actor, or keyword with results displayed as images accompanied by program title and broadcast provider details. Further interaction with the panel reveals program description and viewing options. Results can be sorted alphabetically, by date of production or broadcast and, if available, user rating. The user would also be able to search within these results or conduct a new search. Figure 23: Finding content with search How it meets user needs This functionality will appeal to active users who have some idea of what they want to watch. The inclusion of a picture and program description (on rollover) will offer the user greater clarification of the search result and the option to delve deeper for more information. The visual search also exposes similar related programs that could appeal to the user. This can broaden their positive experience of using the platform. The dynamic search offers a real-time visual interaction more in keeping with the TV user experience Configuring user preferences Users that have registered with the online video service may be allowed to configure the user experience to their liking, by, for example, selecting a color scheme, a background theme, and one of several preset layouts of the user controls. A registered user also may configure her favorite channels in the channel selector, set preferences for certain types of content that can guide content promotions, and be granted access to additional content, like VoD content. There would also be a parental control feature to block content that is only appropriate for adults. If a user specifies she is interested in music, fashion, and lifestyle, these types of programs then appear more prominently in the content selector and hit lists. There is also the opportunity to block or hide certain types of content so that they do not feature prominently in user choice options (for example, I am not interested in animals and the channel Animal Planet ). This removes animal-related content from the selector and shifts the Animal Planet channel down the EPG channel list. 34

35 Providing these configuration options is a simple but effective way of personalizing the user experience and helping users to find relevant content more quickly Registration Although users could use an online video service anonymously, in solutions based on this blueprint, they would be encouraged to register their details to customize settings, personalize the functions to their liking, and possibly even access premium content. Users may hesitate about lengthy registration processes. However, most will not object to a quick and simple first-time registration (name plus ), with the option of enhancing the personal profile at a later stage. Ideally, users would be incentivized to detail their profile by providing more personalization options or granting access to premium content. That said, even the most basic registration gives the service provider the beginnings of a user profile that can be matched to other elements of information collected. Registration and subsequent user profiling enables more effective targeted advertising, one of the keys to commercial success in online video Ratings, recommendations, and communications In a full implementation of this blueprint, we envision that users can add user-generated metadata to content, like simple ratings (for example, one to five stars), recommendations (for example, recommend this movie to a friend), reviews, and integration with Windows LiveTM network of Internet services (for example, Instant Messenger). The latter enables users to send links to content items that may be of interest to others and chat about the content they are watching in real time. User-generated recommendations and reviews would also be used to make content suggestions to the user (for example, 10 of your friends have rated Shrek five stars ). Complexity arises once users are allowed to start commenting on content and, therefore, a degree of moderation and maintenance would be required. Although some ratings and comments could be made private to only friends, benefits can be explored further in making usergenerated content public, as can be seen from e-commerce sites, which use recommendations and comments to drive sales. In the shorter term, the use of simple ratings is much used and an effective driver of recommendation-based choice Connected media experiences Additionally, the use of instant messenger is an excellent way of enhancing the social viewing experience. There are still many kinds of programming that may either be watched live (for example, sports events or soaps) or viewed by an online community contemporaneously. Instant messaging provides a simple and effective method for discussing events with friends or colleagues and for creating a more engaging overall experience with social aspects that go beyond what traditional television could offer. 35

36 4 User roles and user journeys 4.1 User roles and personas When developing this blueprint, we identified several consumer (end-user) personas, a range of internal ( back-office ) user roles, and an external user role. For the end-user personas, we developed initial descriptions based on inputs from a range of sources, including trend research from leading consultancies for consumer insight and workshops with major media companies. The following are short descriptions of each user role and the user personas. Color Key to distinguish internal, external, and end (consumer) users We have used different color codes to distinguish between internal users, external users, and end users (consumers) as shown in Figure 24. Figure 24: Color codes for internal, external, and end (consumer) users 4.2 End user personas Miguel Media Explorer Miguel mainly consumes his media in traditional ways, newspaper and TV. He is a moderate user of information and communications technologies and mainly uses trusted brands. When making choices, he often relies on recommendations from his family and friends. Figure 25: End-user persona: Miguel, a media explorer, and his behavioral dimensions Miguel heard about the new online video service through an from a friend at work and decided to have a look. He registered but has not really had time to play with it yet. 36

37 4.2.2 Adia End User Adia mainly consumes media in traditional ways, magazines and TV, but she uses the Web to find new trends in art and design. She is willing to try new brands as long as they have been suggested in trusted sources. Adia gets recommendations mainly through main media titles. Figure 26: End-user persona: Adia, a discerning content consumer, and her behavioral dimensions Adia heard about the new online video service from her husband who registered with the service, but she decided to wait and see how Miguel gets along before she takes a look into it Carles End User Carles is an early adopter of technology and a heavy user of the Web. He is outspoken and likes to be ahead of the pack. Figure 27: End-user persona: Carles, an immersed dweller, and his behavioral dimensions Carles learnt about the new online video service from a friend online who had access to the pilot and signed up as well. He usually uses sites like Bit Torrent and Mininova to download content, but he is curious about this new service and will give it a try. 37

38 4.3 Back-office user roles Ad Sales Manager The Ad Sales Manager role is focused on selling advertising campaigns to clients, mostly media buying agencies, but in some cases the Ad Sales Manager may also have direct relationships with clients (brand owners) that have their own media buying departments and personnel. Figure 28: Back-office user role: Ad Sales Manager The Ad Sales Manager is responsible for maintaining relationships with buyers in the long term. It is important that she shows an understanding of their needs, including demographic and budgetary targets. The Ad Sales Manager is more successful if she can show that she is helping her customers spend their money effectively, and acts as a gateway to their advertising being displayed alongside the right kind of programming. Targeted advertising lets her be even more accurate in matching advertising output to the right consumers. The Ad Sales Manager is reliant on superior reporting capabilities both during and after a campaign to prove the efficacy of the campaigns she sells Media Buyer The Media Buyer manages advertising campaigns for his clients. He is responsible for the purchase of print, TV, radio, and online advertising space. Being aware of what is the latest trend is important for this role only if he knows what is hot and who is watching what, will he be able to buy the right inventory. Figure 29: External user role: Media Buyer Clients will usually give the Media Buyer a budget and a set of targets to hit. These will include reaching target consumers by volume. His campaign targets may vary from brand awareness and OTS to more specific conversion rates and click-throughs to sales. 38

39 As a result, the combination of contextual and targeted advertising is very relevant for the Media Buyer Content Manager The Content Manager works for the online video service provider. His role as a Content Manager includes several technical and metadata-related tasks, including the ingestion of new video assets, quality assurance, and adding technical and descriptive metadata. Figure 30: Back-office user role: Content Manager The Content Manager s primary need is to ensure accuracy his output creates the broadcast/programming feed, so any errors will be seen by a huge potential audience. Because this role may also include responsibility for the addition of metadata to programming (or, at least, the checking of accurate additions), his role is pivotal in getting content to the viewer in a form that allows for advertising to be served accurately Executive Producer The Executive Producer is responsible for the commercial success of the online video service. This role is focused on maximizing profitability of the service, increasing the number of users, acquiring new content, ensuring availability, and reducing operational costs. We would expect the Content Manager and Ad Sales Manager roles to have a direct reporting line to the Executive Producer. Figure 31: Back-office user role: Executive Producer Content Marketer The Content Marketer is responsible for maximizing profit from premium content, designing monetization models in line with the business strategy of the organization (for example, bundles and subscription packages), and negotiating rights and royalties with content licensors. We expect the Content Marketer role would report to the Executive Producer. 39

40 Figure 32: Back-office user role: Content Marketer User Experience Designer The User Experience Designer is responsible for customizing the user experience to appeal to the target audiences and to align with the channel s branding. This includes arranging the layout of functional components and the positioning of the advertising. We expect the User Experience Designer role to have a direct reporting line to the Executive Producer and to work with the other roles identified. Figure 33: Back-office user role: User Experience Designer 4.4 User journeys In this section, selected user journey paths of interaction with the proposed solution are described. With these user journeys, we hope to bring the proposed blueprint to live, illustrating how users would actually interact with parts of the solution to address a need or desire or to fulfill a task Example end-user journeys User interaction with viewing device Taking Miguel as our user persona, we can understand this may be the first time he has used an online video service. He has experience in using Web sites and is happy using his TV-set top box. The functionality and visual language of the user interface needs to enable Miguel to explore the functionality of the online video client to find the program content and channels he desires initially. He can then discover the new functionality this platform offers him. If the platform is too technical, he will be scared off; if it is too basic, he may not be compelled to use it. User desire for available content We must understand why users will use solutions based on this blueprint, and where they might be at the time. Their interest in available content will vary from having specific program requests 40

41 to a more general desire to be entertained. The user interface must cater for these differences, providing different ways of accessing content. User desire to control viewing experience In understanding how our persona views the content on their computers at home and work, we can understand how the viewing interface needs to adapt to user needs. The options range from an immersive full-screen experience to a mini player mode on their desktop PC, which allows them to keep an eye on the content while working on something else. User reaction to content, creating desire to act socially or commercially Carles, our younger consumer persona, expects to interact with the content he is viewing. His desires range from wanting to comment on or share a piece of content to being able to find out where he can buy the cool phone the character in a program is using. In understanding the potential social and commercial journeys that video content can initiate, we can develop functionality to address these user desires Example back-office user journeys User uploading new content The Content Manager wants to upload a new program to the online video distribution platform, and wants to know what additional collateral he will need to produce for the content to be presented to end users. He will also need to add metadata to the content to enable searching, browsing, and contextual advertising. In addition, with many steps to be completed in content preparation, he needs the system to guide him through the steps and help him to track the status of the assets in the system. User targeting clients The Ad Sales Manager first needs to know which of her potential clients are most likely to take advantage of the advanced online advertising capabilities of the online video service. She needs to understand how ads can be booked and how online video advertising can be used as part of a cross-platform campaign. Finally, she needs access to reports about the online video ads effectiveness for her clients Example external user journeys A Media Buyer wants to know what kind of advertising he can place on the online video platform. He also wants to know how effective the ads he places on the platform are and how he can measure success. 41

42 5 Business functions 5.1 Overview The overview diagram in Figure 34 represents the key business functions required to operate an online video service from a service provider s perspective, mapping the user roles described in Chapter 4 onto those functions. Figure 34: Key business functions and user roles in operating an online video service In the following sections, the business functions are described in more detail and broken down into business processes. We begin with the basic functions required for delivering online video, which include digital content management (section 5.2), digital content distribution (section 5.3), and adapting and delivering the end-user experience (sections 5.4 and 5.5). We then review the functions required for monetizing online video, which include advertising (section 5.6), e- commerce (section 0), and digital rights management (section 5.8). We then explain how an online video service can be enhanced through CRM (section 5.9), attract and retain (section ), and community services (section 5.10). Finally, the analytics and reporting capabilities (section 5.11) required to run an online video service efficiently are described. While these business functions are generic and may differ in a real-world operation, they still may provide a useful overview of the processes required to operate a commercial online video service. 42

43 5.2 Digital content management (DCM) Overview Digital content management encompasses generating a unique identifier for a new video object, loading the video file(s), associating it with metadata, and preparing it for distribution through multiple channels. DCM aims to reduce at time and cost of content loading and preparation, and at making content available for distribution through any channel at minimum cost and lead time. DCM helps reduce the time-to-market and makes it commercially viable to provide content services to small audiences (special interest and niche content services). The process diagram in Figure 35 shows a high-level view of key processes in digital content management, and their logical sequence. Not shown are review and approval processes that may be required at various stages to ensure the proper completion of all tasks. The tasks shown would typically be performed by Content Managers, the user role described in section Digital Content Management 3a. Quality assurance 1. ID generation 2. Content loading 4. Editing 3b. Compliance check 5. Adding metadata 6. Adding ad keywords 8. Associate content object with VoD or EPG item 9. Content conversion 10. Content encryption Digital Content Distribution 7. Register keywords with advertising system Figure 35: Digital content management processes ID generation Before the content is loaded into the system, a unique identifier needs to be generated to distinguish the content object from other objects. Unique identifiers from other systems or from the content provider may need to be retained. Content loading Content loading is conducted by either: Encoding a video signal from a live video source into a video file or multiple video files Importing the video file(s) supplied by a content provider into the system The first method is typically only used for live events, which need to be recorded live while in progress. While for all pre-produced content whether scheduled for playout or provided as VoD content typically the second method is used. 43

44 Quality assurance After the content has been loaded into the system (or while it is being encoded into the system), the quality of the encoded content regarding the audio and video quality, appropriate audio channel configuration, and audio gain level settings needs to be validated. As part of this process, the encoded content may need to be compared with the source content, either by viewing both the source and the encoded content next to each other, or by comparing them using mathematical methods. Where quality concerns are identified, the content is marked up accordingly, and tasks are assigned to technical staff. Compliance check The content also needs to be checked for compliance with legal and contractual requirements. For instance, some visual content or the language used may be inappropriate for some audiences. It may contain inappropriate prominence of a brand logo or product, or it may not have been licensed for distribution through certain channels. In the compliance check, any deviations from legal and contractual requirements are noted, and the content is marked up accordingly; tasks are assigned to legal staff, and the content may need to be locked until proper sign-off is provided. Editing Based on the markups created in the quality assurance and compliance check processes, the content is edited to resolve quality and compliance issues. As part of the content preparation, also preview clips and trailers may be created, but these processes are out of scope for this white paper. Adding metadata In the next step, technical, descriptive, and use-related metadata needs to be added. The technical metadata is needed to control the technical processing of content: For instance, when converting the content to other formats, the source format s encoding parameters are needed for proper decoding. Most of the technical metadata may be extracted from the media file header or based on file properties, though, so only minimal human intervention is required for adding technical metadata. The descriptive metadata is required to make content searchable for users. In most cases, most of the descriptive metadata is supplied by content providers, and if not, most of it can be sourced from databases. For properly displaying the content in the user interface, though, the descriptors that place the content in the overall taxonomy used in the content selector (3.2.3) need to be added. Also, metadata elements that appear in the hit lists of the content selector, navigator (3.2.4) or search control (3.2.5) may require further editing. Finally, one or several video frames may have to be extracted from the video to serve as a thumbnail, poster, or scene photo this may be an automated or manual process. Additional access options like, for example, chapter- or scene-based navigation may require the addition of chapter or scene markers and descriptions as time-based metadata. These markers may also be used for reporting on viewing figures. With 44

45 appropriate markers, increases in the number of viewers during action scenes or drop-offs every time a particular ad is served can be measured. Use-related metadata like, for example, exhibit only between January 2009 and December 2009 is required to control the display of content to comply with contractual agreements and legal requirements. In most cases, it needs to be entered manually. Adding ad keywords and registering them with the ad vertising system To enable contextual advertising, the video content needs to be marked up with ad keywords along its timeline. For example, a shot in which a car of a certain brand is displayed prominently with an elegantly dressed female passenger getting out through the right-front door may be marked up with the keywords automobile, Mercedes-Benz, female adult, and elegantly dressed. These ad keywords can trigger the display of banner or in-stream advertising in the appropriate editorial context, and they need to be registered with the advertising system so that advertisers can book them. Associate content object with EPG or VoD item To make the content object accessible and searchable through the user interface, it needs to be associated with an EPG or VoD item. The EPG item represents a program item scheduled for playout in a specific timeframe on a specific date on a specific channel. EPG items are accessible through the EPG and through all the other content access tools (selector, navigator, and search). The VoD item represent a program available for viewing on demand. VoD items are accessible only through the content selector, navigator, and search tools. Content conversion For distribution through different channels (Internet, cable networks, mobile networks) with differing technical properties (data throughput, available screen resolutions, supported formats), the content both the video and the metadata may need to be converted to appropriate formats to meet the technical requirements of the various channels. These conversion processes are also part of the content preparation in digital content management. Content encryption To enable users to view and share licensed content across multiple devices while at the same time protecting the content from unauthorized use, service providers want to encrypt the content prior to distribution, using DRM technologies. The parameters for this encryption (that is, for how long or for how many times a user may view the content, on which devices the content may be viewed, and whether it may be shared or not) are usually determined by the commercial offering the user has selected. This is so that the encryption typically can only take place on demand, immediately prior to content distribution. 45

46 5.3 Digital content distribution In the context of this blueprint, digital content distribution refers to how different content elements are delivered to end users via the content distribution network (CDN). These content elements include video content, non-video (advertising) content, and metadata: Video content (both editorial and ad creative) is uploaded to a CDN and then delivered to end consumers via either streaming or download mechanisms. Non-video advertising content (images and animated images) and ad display instructions typically are served by ad servers. Metadata (EPG data, VoD catalog data, pricing information, and topic keywords) is served by a metadata service, which is part of the digital content management function (5.2). An overview of the processes that are part of digital content distribution are shown in Figure 36. Once the content has been prepared for distribution through DCM, an appropriate distribution template is selected (for example, Internet or mobile networks), the content is packaged using the appropriate content formatting, and sent to the content delivery networks for delivery to the end user. Digital Content Distribution Video Video content served through streaming or for download Packaging for Internet distribution Content Type Non-video ad content served through ad servers Metadata Internet Metadata served by metadata service Digital Content Management Select distribution template Content Delivery (streaming, download) User Experience Delivery Mobile Video content served through streaming or for download Video Packaging for mobile network distribution Content Type Non-video ad content served through ad servers Metadata Metadata served by metadata service Figure 36: Digital content distribution processes The client may receive content from various CDNs, which may be syndicated and stored on the client side. Ideally, this would be transparent for the end user. 5.4 User experience delivery The end-user experience encompasses the processes of registering with the online video service, finding content the user wants to watch, viewing the content, possibly rating it and/or sharing it 46

47 with others, and configuring the user interface to meet the user s preferences. The client design proposed as part of this blueprint and described in more detail in Chapter 3 is designed to support all the processes; for finding content, it offers three different options a content selector for direct access to promoted content, a content navigator for a guided filtering based on descriptors, and a search too00l for full-text metadata search. User experience delivery User experience delivery Register Find View Rate Share Configure Select Navigate Search Figure 37: End-user processes End users may want to interact with the online video service through a multitude of devices and user interfaces like Web browsers, entertainment centers, gaming consoles, set top boxes, and mobile devices. The client design described in Chapter 3 can be adapted to work across all these devices and platforms, supporting different screen resolutions, input devices, and interaction models. 5.5 User experience adaptation The user interface proposed through this blueprint may be configured by the user to suit a user s specific needs and preferences, as described in section above, but it may also need to be adapted by the service provider to reflect the media brand, position certain functions like the content selector for direct access to promoted content more prominently, and/or to extend its functionality. Basic user experience adaptations include modifications to the color scheme, background themes, logos, layouts, and animations, while more advanced adaptations include modifications to the functional elements of the proposed client and modifications to the ad display space(s) provided by the client (Figure 38). User experience adaptation User experience adaptation Design and apply color scheme Design and apply background themes Insert logos Modify layout Modify animations Modify / remove / enhance functional elements Modify / remove / add ad display space Preview design Figure 38: User experience adaptation processes In making any such modifications, the consistency of the overall end-user experience, the dependencies on other business functions like advertising and e-commerce, and the capabilities of the distribution channels should be taken into account. 47

48 5.6 Advertising Advertising, in the context of this paper, is one way of monetizing the audiences attracted to the online video service. It is a business function making available advertising opportunities, also called ad inventory, and Ad Sales Managers selling ad inventory to Media Buyers. As a result, the advertising function encompasses both Media Buyer and Ad Sales Manager processes. The Media Buyer processes are detailed in Figure 39, and the Ad Sales Manager processes are detailed in Figure 40. Advertising Media Buyer Processes Advertising (Media Buyer processes) Understand advertising opportunities Manage campaigns Monitor campaign effectiveness Select start / end date Select target demographics Select ad keywords Set bid price for ad keywords Upload ad creative Set presentation parameters Set technical parameters Figure 39: Advertising Media Buyer processes Media Buyers want to know what kind of advertising opportunities are available and want to manage their campaigns and monitor the effectiveness of the ad campaign. Managing an ad campaign includes selecting the start and end date of the campaign, selecting target demographics, selecting ad keywords for contextual placement of the ad creative, and setting the bid price for the keywords if these are sold through a bidding process. Then the Media Buyer uploads the ad create and finally sets the presentation and technical parameters for the inclusion of the ad in the user experience. (For an overview of online video ad formats, see section The client design proposed in this blueprint supports two main types of advertising: a) display ads, for example, banner ads and b) in-stream video ads, which may be linear [like pre-rolls and interstitials] or non-linear video ads [like overlays and picture-in-picture ads].) Advertising Ad Sales Manager Processes Advertising (Ad Sales Manager processes) Manage inventory Sell inventory Monitor sales performance Define inventory (advertising opportunities) Define sales channel Set pricing (rate card, bidding) Prepare offers Negotiate Book / sign and file contract Figure 40: Advertising Ad Sales processes Ad Sales Managers, together with the Executive Producer and the User Experience Designer, need to define the advertising opportunities and then define the sales channel (direct, through ad 48

49 networks, through ad exchanges) and the pricing mechanism (rate cards, bidding process) for the different types of inventory. To support them, ad inventory management and yield optimization tools may be used. To sell inventory, Ad Sales Managers need to prepare offers, negotiate terms and conditions, and finally book the advertising space and sign and file the contract with the advertiser or agency. Ad Sales Managers also need to monitor sales performance for sold versus unsold inventory, average price per unit, and more. Beyond these core processes, Ad Sales Managers want to know which advertising clients are most likely to take advantage of video advertising, and they also need to understand how video advertising can be used as part of a cross-platform campaign. In some cases, the Ad Sales Manager may even request advertising opportunities or advertising content to be created to meet an advertiser s needs. As these are creative, non-repetitive processes, they are out of the scope for this white paper. 5.7 E-commerce Paid content is another way of monetizing the audiences attracted to the online video service. Pay-for-content business models are enabled by the e-commerce business function. It is carried out mainly by Content Marketers and encompasses the following:defining the commercial content offerings, as in which types of use of content objects (content use licenses) are made available through pay-for-content models. These commercial content offerings may be associated with a single or with a class of similar content objects. They may refer to a collection of content objects bundled together for sales purposes. Defining the pay model (subscriptions, pay-to-view/pay-to-rent, pay-to-own; see section 2.2.1), defining the price, the discounting strategy, and the use restrictions for each content offering. Defining promotions (like inclusion in the content selector, display advertising promoting the offering, or trailers shown as in-stream video ads) for each content offering. Setting the availability for each content offering availability of the timeframe, geography, and audiences for which the content offering is valid, the channels (Internet, mobile networks, etc.) through which the content is available, and the access methods (streaming, download) supported. Generating the parameters for encoding the content through digital rights management. DRM (see section 5.8 below) safeguards the use of the content according to the content use license. Tracking the use of content against the licenses granted by the content providers and triggering royalty payments. Monitoring the sales performance of items sold, total revenue, best-selling items, slow sellers, and more. Figure 41 provides an overview of the processes associated with the e-commerce business function. 49

50 E-commerce E-commerce Define commercial content offering Define pay model Define promotions Set availability Generate DRM parameters Track content usage Manage rights & royalties Monitor content sales performance Figure 41: E-commerce processes These activities fall under the responsibility of the Content Marketer role (as described in section 4.3.5). Where there is no dedicated Content Marketer for the online video channel, the Executive Producer role (as described in section 4.3.4) or Content Marketers in other channels may perform these activities. If both ad-funded and pay-for-content business models are applied, the Executive Producer, working with the Ad Sales Manager (section 4.3.1) and the Content Marketer, need to decide which content is monetized through advertising, and which content is monetize through pay-forcontent models. Some video service providers may even allow users to choose between an adfunded and a pay-for-content model. If the user is willing to pay for the content, no advertising is shown. Theoretically, even a continuum combination of ad-funded and pay-for-content models could be offered. The more the user is willing to pay for the content, the fewer the ads are served. While the blueprint proposed through this white paper allows for these variants, in most cases, premium content is monetized through pay-for-content models, while mainstream content is best monetized through advertising. 5.8 Digital rights management (DRM) Digital rights management safeguards the use of content according to the content use license; it is used with pay-for-content business models to enable viewing and, in some cases, sharing of content across multiple devices and platforms while at the same time protecting content licensors against unauthorized use or distribution of the content. DRM is essential to safeguard the contractual rights involved with licensing content between content owners, content distributors, and end users (audiences), as detailed in Table 3 below. Use restrictions relationship between the content owner and the content distributor Numbers of permissible exhibits Permit to streaming /download Permit to broadcast live, make available for catch-up and/or VoD Types of permitted advertising Use restrictions relationship between the content distributor and end user Number of plays Amount of time stored Permanent use Permitted transfer to other devices File storage management uninstall/auto-delete option on license expiration Table 3: Contractual rights of content owners, content distributors, and end users In the architecture proposed through this blueprint, the DRM parameters would be generated by the e-commerce business function (section 0), and the DRM encoding service would be controlled 50

51 by the DCM business function (section 5.2). The DRM-encrypted content will be delivered to the end user through digital content distribution (section 5.3). Digital Rights Management E-Commerce Digital Content Management Digital Rights Management Digital Content Distribution Figure 42: Digital rights management and related business functions In addition to protecting content from unauthorized duplication as a file, DRM is also used with two other technologies to safeguard the end-to-end delivery of licensed content: Certified Output Protection Protocol (COPP) COPP enables an application to protect a video stream as it travels from the graphics adapter to the display device. Analogue Copy Protection (ACP) ACP is intended to prevent unauthorized copying of protected copyright content via an analogue input (CVBS, Y/C, and Component) to a recording device such as a VCR, DVD recorder, or hard disk recorder. 5.9 Customer relationship management (CRM) Customer relationship management is about profiling current and prospective customers, and about organizing and tracking a company s interactions with them. In the context of online video, CRM has two primary purposes: Profiling the customer enables targeted advertising and targeted content promotions. Tracking the customer interaction history helps to improve customer service. It is important to understand that each customer interaction is an opportunity to improve the customer profiling. Knowing its customers information needs, content preferences, and content selection history will enable the e-commerce and advertising business functions to improve their targeting; knowing customers responses to past targeted content promotions will enable the e- commerce business function to improve their content promotions and project future responses; and being aware of the customer interaction history (registration date, total customer revenue to date, invoices sent out, payments received, support requests pending, complaints filed) will help the customer service department provide better and more efficient customer service. CRM starts with the registration of the customer. While the initial registration may be anonymous and only include some basic customer data like a user name and an address, a full registration would typically include the customer name, address, and payment preferences. A more detailed customer profile would also include the customer s content preferences, brand preferences, past content selections, gender, household income, and areas of interest. This more detailed customer profile might be filled in step by step in future customer interactions. Respecting the privacy of the customer, any automated customer profiling based on customer 51

52 interactions and any targeting based on customer profiling should only be offered as an opt-in function. Customer Relationship Management Customer Relationship Management Registration Customer profiling Tracking customer interaction history Supporting content marketing Supporting advertising sales Supporting customer service Enabling analytics and reporting Anonymous registration Basic registration with name and address Customer sets preferences Automated customer profiling based on interaction history Figure 43: Customer relationship management processes The CRM business function supports processes in sales, marketing, customer service, and analytics and reporting. Figure 43 provides an overview of the business processes required for attracting and retaining users. In sales, CRM may improve sales representative productivity and sales results. In marketing, CRM may transform information into knowledge to optimize the marketing mix. In customer service, CRM helps customer service agents to transform customer interactions into meaningful customer relationships. In analytics and reporting, CRM helps organizations to better understand their customers and make better business decisions. Attract and retain users Attracting and retaining users is a key business function of any online video service. End users like Miguel, Adia, and Carles can be attracted to the online video service by placing links to available video content prominently in search engines hit lists and on other Web sites. They can also be retained as loyal users by encouraging deeper engagement and spending more time with the online video service. This can be achieved by providing the following: Different ways of selecting content (EPG, content selector, content navigator, search; found in sections through oben), or by providing Meaningful links between content objects that encourage the user to navigate vertically within the online video service (rather than navigating away) Generating the descriptors required for the content navigator, providing the search functionality required for metadata search, and generating and updating the links between content objects are key processes for retaining users. An even more powerful way of building user loyalty is providing a personalized user experience by making personalized content suggestions. These may be based on the following: Stored content preferences ( I like tennis, cars, and thrillers. ) Content similarities (a user who is viewing a western with Clint Eastwood may be interested in other westerns or Clint Eastwood movies) 52

53 Content associations ( if you would like to learn more about New York in the 19 th century, watch the documentary New York ) Content recommendations ( your friends have watched ) Figure 44 provides an overview of the business processes required for attracting and retaining users. Attract and Retain Users Attract and Retain Users Search engine optimization Generate and update descriptors Search Generate and update links Provide personalized content suggestions Figure 44: Processes for attracting and retaining users An example scenario could have Adia discovering the online video service through her search for The Devil Wears Prada on a search engine. Adia would then see a result for this content being available on the online video service. A subsequent step may involve being taken to the client Web site and instructions on installing the application to play the content. Adia may have to register a user account before she can watch the content. As Adia continues to use the online video service s player, content recommendations can be delivered based on user profile, stored preferences, previous sessions, and also recommendations from her friends, which together create the personalized experience for Adia and help retain her as a loyal user. Nigel, our Media Buyer persona, would be interested in achieving high engagement times and Hazel, our Ad Sales Manager persona, would be interested in achieving targeted advertising and search engine optimization of the online video service. Jonathan, our Content Manager, is expected to review the validity of keywords used to identify recommended content on search engines and query. User information, such as preferences, ratings, and recommendations, would need to be collected to feed into search personalization. These requirements collectively suggest that efficient searching mechanisms are required to find the appropriate content. As a result, Attract and retain must have robust tools that can retrieve content metadata and user profile data to display the most relevant content Community Providing community services around an online video service may help to attract more users, may foster customer loyalty, and may inspire users to share their recommendations, ratings, and comments with other users, increasing the value of the service to other users. In this blueprint, community services include: 53

54 User identity management, as in registering the user to enable communication and personalization. Ideally, the user could use her registration with one of the established Internet services networks to gain access to the online video service. Contacts database management, as in enabling the user to connect with other users using the same service. Communications services, as in enabling users to communicate with each other via or IM to send each other content links and recommendations, and chat about the content they are watching. Enabling users to rate the content, tag the content, or enter comments about the content may also be seen as a community service. In this blueprint, these functions are included in Digital Content Management (section 5.2) Analytics and reporting Reporting is important for many user roles: The Executive Producer role would use analytics and reporting functionality to control the profitability of the service, understand any deviations from the business plan, and analyze the reasons for such deviations. The Executive Producer may want to use analytics to measure cross-channel impact and may want to better understand user conversion experiences. The Ad Sales Manager role would require reporting capabilities to distinguish sold and unsold inventory and may want to provide advertisers with reporting on page views, unique users, certain aspects of user behavior, and conversions. The Media Buyer role would use the reports to validate the effectiveness of campaigns, measured in exposure, interaction, and return (which can be anything from data capture to actual sales) versus the amount of money spent. Based on such analysis, the Media Buyer aims at optimizing the allocation of advertising budgets and tries to understand possible areas of improvement. The Content Marketer role would use reports to track content use, analyze the effectiveness of content promotions, and gain insight about user profiles and preferences. The Content Manager role would require reporting on the status of content assets that are being prepared for distribution and also needs to track processes and task assignments. Due to the availability of a backchannel, the reporting possibilities offered by an online channel are far greater than the possibilities offered by traditional mass media. In this blueprint, we propose to use BI to combine information from several systems the CRM system, the e- commerce system, and the ad server s logs into consolidated, role-specific reports that provide insight into different aspects of the service. The analytics and reporting function accesses data from several other business functions, as shown in Figure 45 below: 54

55 Analytics and Reporting Digital Content Management Advertising E-Commerce Analytics and Reporting Digital Content Management Advertising E-Commerce Figure 45: Analytics and reporting uses data from other business functions and provides reports for other business functions In the following sections, examples for role-specific reports are given Reports for Executive Producers For the Executive Producer role, a scorecard combining key performance indicators for audience reach, advertiser business relationships, revenue and cost figures, content-related goals, staffrelated goals, and resource use would be appropriate to track the different aspects of success with an online video service. An example for such a scorecard is shown in Table 4 below. Mar 09 YTD Actual Target Att Actual Target Att Audience Online Unique Users % % Online Registrations % % Avg Time Spent On Portal 0:22:00 0:30:00 73% 0:24:00 0:30:00 80% Avg Video Viewing Time 0:27:00 0:20:00 135% 0:24:00 0:20:00 120% Avg # of Pay Content Views p. M % % Advertisers Sold Inventory 76% 90% 84% 79% 90% 88% # of Advertisers % % # of Campaigns % % # of Top Brands % % Conversion Rate 3,5% 3,0% 117% 3,3% 3,0% 110% Revenue Display Advertising % % Instream Advertising % % Sponsorships % % CPM Display 6,60 7,50 88% 6,80 7,50 91% CPM Instream 19,00 17,50 109% 20,40 17,50 117% Pay Content Revenue % % Cost Distribution % % Operations % % Licenses % % Content Top Live Events Coverage % % Blockbuster Movies % % Top Entertainment Shows % % Table 4: Scorecard for an Executive Producer For tracking different aspects of the online video service, the Executive Producer would need different, more detailed reports as described below. 55

56 To track the overall financial performance of the online video service, a profit and loss statement would compare the total revenue broken down into ad revenue, pay content revenue, and other revenue (for example, from sponsorships), with the total cost broken down into operating costs, licensing costs, and production costs, for example. To understand how profitable an individual channel, a format, or a selection of content is, the pay and advertising revenue generated by this content could be compared with the production or licensing cost of that channel, format, or selection. To analyze the audience reach and stickiness of the service, a report could compile information about the average number of unique (active) users, the number of new user registrations, and the average time per session users spend with the service. To monitor and improve the quality of the service, users feedback and interaction histories their clickstreams could be analyzed to understand issues and typical navigation paths. Also, technical performance indicators like service availability, lost streaming connections, and the number of sessions aborted due to an error could be used to monitor the technical quality of the service Reports for Ad Sales Managers and Media Buyers To understand the effectiveness of an ad campaign, the advertiser is interested in key performance indicators like the total number of ad impressions, the cost per thousand ad impressions (Cost per Mille [CPM]), the number of users who clicked an ad divided by the number of times the ad was delivered (Click-through-Rate [CTR]), the number of users who clicked an ad and got transferred to the advertiser s Web site (this is relevant for calculating the Cost per Click [CPC] or, in the Pay per Click [PPC] model, the price per click), and the amount of users who complete an action, such as a registration, a sign-up for a newsletter, or a purchase (Cost per Action [CPA], Cost per Lead [CPL], or Cost per Order [CPO]). Often the price models for online advertising are based on these performance indicators. To improve the targeting of content and advertising, reports could aggregate individual users into user groups based on their profiles and could analyze the preferences of these user groups for certain content, ad types, and brands Reports for Content Marketers To understand how appealing certain pieces of content are to users, how they find them, and what else they are interested in, a report could show the number of viewers for that piece of content, how long the content was viewed, which portions of the content was viewed by users, and the users profiles (and so the demographic breakdown). In addition, the report can show how they found the content and where they are headed next Reports for Content Managers To track the status of the assets as they are ingested into the system and prepared for delivery, the Content Manager needs reports showing the processing status of each asset (ingested, 56

57 approved by quality control, approved by compliance checking, promo edited, associated with EPG or VoD catalog item, encrypted [for content protection], converted into distribution formats, and uploaded to distribution network). 57

58 6 Microsoft s blueprint for online video services In this chapter, we discuss how the business functions described in Chapter 0 can be supported using Microsoft products and services. This may help technical decision makers (TDMs) who are defining the architecture for their organization s online video service make the best use of the Microsoft platform. 6.1 Overview Figure 46 illustrates how Microsoft products and services can be used to implement an online video service. Figure 46: Microsoft s blueprint for online video solutions 58

59 The DCM business function can be enabled by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, with the extensions included in Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering. This solution supports content loading and preparation processes, including metadata entry, quality assurance, and the tagging of video content to enable contextual advertising. The digital content distribution business function can be enabled by the Microsoft Windows Server operating system, which provides the streaming technology for reliable and smooth video delivery over the Internet. The user experience can be delivered using either rich clients based on the Windows Presentation Foundation for the Windows platform, or using crossplatform, cross-browser Web clients based on the Microsoft SilverlightTM browser plug-in. These technologies enable compelling user experiences, and Microsoft Expression Studio provides the accompanying tools for the User Interface Designer to adapt the user experience to specific needs and branding guidelines. The advertising business function can be supported by advertising solutions like FAST Ad Momentum. These solutions enable the monetization of the online video services through online advertising, providing publisher and buyer tools and serving the ad creative into the client. The e-commerce business function can be supported by Microsoft Commerce Server, an e-commerce solution that stores commercial information about content offerings, enabling pay-for-content models and active content marketing with promotions, bundles, discounts, and special offers. The digital rights management business function can be supported by Microsoft PlayReady content access technology, a cross-platform, cross-format digital rights management solution that helps secure distribution of premium content across multiple devices. The customer relationship management business function can be supported by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which stores customer profiles and tracks customer interaction histories, helping to enhance user profiling and enabling good customer service. The attract and retain users business function can be supported by FAST products like FAST ESP and FAST Recommendations. The products not only provide powerful search and indexing capabilities, they also can facilitate the discovery of content and can help to create a personalized user experience, presenting content relevant for the individual user. The community services business function can be supported by Windows Live, a set of social media services for consumers. Windows Live services include user identity management, a contacts database with more than 460 million active users around the globe, IM, notification, and content sharing functionality, and more. Windows Live services are cloud services delivered through the Internet. Via their open application programming interfaces (APIs), they can be integrated with 59

60 online video services to enable users to share links to video and chat about what they are currently watching, and more. The analytics and reporting business function can be supported by Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server business intelligence software. With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis and Reporting Services, it provides the analytics and reporting capabilities required for tracking content preparation processes, content sales, and ad campaign performance. The individual components are discussed further below. 6.2 Solution architecture The proposed architecture is a three-tier architecture with a presentation layer, a services layer, and a data storage layer. It is based on Microsoft s Software-plus-Services approach, which means that three different deployment options exist for each service. Figure 47: Presentation, services, and data storage layers of the proposed architecture The service can be deployed on-premise for maximum security and customizability. In most deployments, the digital content management, reporting, and e-commerce components are run as on-premise services as they need to be integrated with other systems and need to be adapted to specific needs. The service can be run as a hosted service to speed deployment and reduce infrastructure management overhead. For example, a service provider might choose to use a hosted streaming service for digital content distribution. The service can be run as a cloud service by Microsoft, and accessed through the Internet. For example, the digital content distribution functionality can be provided as a cloud service using Microsoft s Silverlight Streaming service. 60

61 Similarly, if Windows Live services are used to provide the community functionality, these are delivered as cloud services. Each of these layers is described in more detail below Presentation layer The components used for designing, adapting, and delivering the end-user experience as described in Chapter 3 form the presentation layer. In the following two sections, the tools for designing and adapting the end-user experience and for delivering the end-user experience are described User experience delivery Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Silverlight Using the Microsoft platform, the presentation layer may be implemented using either rich clients for the Windows platform, taking advantage of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), or using Web clients for cross-platform, cross-browser deployment based on Silverlight ( In both cases, the user experience is delivered through componentized Microsoft.NET connection software assemblies, decoupling the presentation and user interaction functionality from the back-end components. The layered architecture allows online video service providers to build multiple user interfaces targeting different platforms and experiences. By following recognized architectural patterns such as the Model View Controller and the Composite User Interface, as well as following the best engineering practices such as loose coupling and high cohesion, these user interfaces can all share the same underlying services but support differentiated interaction models for different platforms. This makes deploying and maintaining multiple front ends a manageable proposition, enabling online video service providers to maximize reach across different devices and platforms. The presentation layer emphasizes the separation of behavior from layout through templates and themes, allowing for a white label implementation that can be easily rebranded to suit the clients branding and design guidelines. Windows Presentation Foundation Windows Presentation Foundation ( provides a unified framework for building applications and high-fidelity experiences in the Windows Vista operating system that blend together application user interface (UI), documents, and media content, while exploiting the full power of the computer. A big advantage of the WPF programming model to developers is that they may write code once and deploy it as a standalone installed application or, using the Silverlight Web-browser plug-in, in a browser. 61

62 WPF features include: Client Profile enables faster redistribution with a smaller download. 2-D and 3-D graphics and hardware accelerated effects. Common file format (XAML) allowing designers and developers to collaborate. Scalability to different form factors. Controls, data binding, and extensibility enable developers to quickly build highfidelity applications. WPF provides a unified platform for modern user interfaces, the ability for developers and designers to work together, and a common technology for Windows and Web browser user interfaces. Silverlight Microsoft Silverlight (see for more product information and for community information and sample implementations) is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of Microsoft.NETbased media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. By using the Silverlight support, high-definition video, cost-effective advanced streaming, and high-resolution interactivity with Deep Zoom technology, service providers can reach out to new markets across the Web, desktop PC, and devices. Available for free since just more than a year after its launch in late 2007, Silverlight is becoming one of the fastest-growing browser plug-ins in the history of the Internet: Today, already one in four consumers worldwide have access to a computer with Silverlight. 62

63 Figure 48: An online video service using a Silverlight Web client The latest version, Silverlight 2, delivers a wide range of new features and tooling that enable designers and developers to better collaborate while creating more accessible, more discoverable, and more secure user experiences. Silverlight development by open source communities is supported by Microsoft funding advanced Silverlight development capabilities with the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) and by providing new controls to developers with the Silverlight Control Pack (SCP) under the Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL). Silverlight supports Windows Media Audio and Video 7, 8, 9 (WMA, WMAPro, WMV/VC-1), as well as MP3 audio. Support for standards-compliant H.264/AAC files in MP4 containers, including.f4v files, as well as m4v, mov, and 3gp has been announced for early Microsoft is supporting Akamai s Open Video Player initiative (, a community site dedicated to sharing best practices for video player development. From the site, users can download player source code, reference plug-ins for advertising technologies, and receive advice from a community of designers, developers, and content owners. From this site, a video player framework that supports both Flash and Silverlight is available. It includes project files for the rapid development of video player applications based on Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight ( 63

64 Microsoft Silverlight also provides key benefits to advertisers ( It enables advanced advertising formats, like picture-in-picture ads. It is the most discoverable rich media ad platform with superior Search Engine Optimization capabilities. It enables comprehensive online advertising reporting and analytics. It protects the integrity of advertising content via Web playlists and streaming playlists, which helps ensure end-customer security and protection in the browser. The Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelist team has published a sample implementation of the presentation layer based on Silverlight 2 as a Codeplex 2 project at User experience adaptation Microsoft Expression Studio Tools for creating and adapting the user experience should be designers tools. And they should focus on the visual appearance and the user experience rather than on code and back-end services. Ideally, they would allow the seamless exchange of a designers work results with a development environment so that functional enhancements and integration with back-end services can be implemented by developers without the need to recreate the user interface created by the designer. Ideally, they would enable designers to use the same model for creating the user interface of rich clients and Web clients. Microsoft Expression ( meets these requirements. Microsoft Expression Studio is a suite of integrated tools that takes your designers creative possibilities to a new level while providing for seamless integration with the Microsoft Visual Studio development system environment. The latest version, Microsoft Expression Studio 2, includes the following: Expression Web 2, a professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites and Web-based applications that use ASP.NET or PHP. Expression Blend 2 design software, a professional design tool to create compelling user experiences and applications for Windows using either Framework 3.0,.NET framework 3.5 (which both include the Windows Presentation Foundation), or for the Web with Silverlight. 2 CodePlex ( is Microsoft's open source project hosting Web site. Microsoft does not control, review, revise, endorse, or distribute the third-party projects on this site. Microsoft is hosting the CodePlex site solely as a Web storage site as a service to the developer community. For more information, please refer to the CodePlex Terms of Use. 64

65 Figure 49: Microsoft Expression Blend 2 with workflow integration and support for comments Figure 50: Creating themes and skins with Microsoft Expression Blend 65

66 Expression Design 2, a professional illustration and graphic design tool that lets you build compelling elements for both Web and desktop PC application user interfaces. Expression Media 2, a professional digital asset management tool to visually catalog and organize all of the elements associated with your creative workflow. Expression Media 2 is based on the iview MediaPro product acquired by Microsoft in June of Expression Encoder 2, a professional encoding tool that offers enhancement, encoding, and publishing of rich video experiences with Microsoft Silverlight. Converts and compresses multiple video formats to SMPTE standard VC-1 video for mobile, Web, and high-definition (HD) video scenarios, and H.264 for devices. For streamlined workflow, users may create branded templates with Expression Blend and encode on the desktop PC or server to guarantee a consistent viewing experience on Windows, Mac, and other devices. Expression Encoder 2 SP1 also supports Smooth Streaming, a technology that dynamically detects and seamlessly switches the video quality of a media file being delivered to a Silverlight player, based on current networking and local PC conditions. Smooth Streaming is described in more detail in section below. Visual Studio Standard 2008, a suite of development tools designed to help software developers whether they are novices or seasoned professionals face complex challenges and create innovative solutions, helping to improve the process of development. Adapting the user experience The proposed client design (Chapter 3) encourages the use of recommended architectural patterns such as the Composite User Interface, Model View Controller, Inversion of Control, and The Open Closed Principal. The reason for this is that it is crucial to establish an architecture that is flexible to change as well as very testable to enable change. This ensures that when change is encountered whether it is to add new interactions or new views or modify templates, then it can be done so easily, robustly, and in a timely fashion. Microsoft Expression Studio provides the tools for adapting the user experience to specific functional needs and branding guidelines. The sample implementation of the presentation layer available as a Codeplex 3 project can be loaded into Expression Blend so that organizations can use its functionality but can quickly adapt it to their needs. Collaborative development While the individual design and developer tools are important for good work results, it is equally important to support collaboration between designers and developers and establish a robust process for building, testing, and deploying changes even more so as any online video service 3 CodePlex ( is Microsoft s open source project hosting Web site. Microsoft does not control, review, revise, endorse, or distribute the third-party projects on this site. Microsoft is hosting the CodePlex site solely as a Web storage site as a service to the developer community. For more information, please refer to the CodePlex Terms of Use. 66

67 and its user interface eventually evolves. We would recommend that Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite, an integrated application life-cycle management (ALM) solution ( be used to manage the software builds, team tasks, and source control Services layer The services layer provides a set of services to support the business functions discussed in Chapter 0. They can be implemented using Microsoft products and services, as explained in more detail below. Each of those services exposes open APIs for integration with existing or third-party services. Communication between the services can be implemented using Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), a part of Microsoft framework, which supports reliable communication between services in an SOA. WCF is designed to offer a manageable approach to distributed computing, broad interoperability, and direct support for service orientation Digital content management Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Digital content management the capability to load, manage, and prepare digital content for delivery is key for any online video service. Content Managers need to make content available for distribution in the most efficient manner, while Executive Producers want to maintain the flexibility to adapt workflows to support new or enhanced existing services. The solution providing this key business function needs to streamline operations by automating processes and making human workflows more efficient. It needs to integrate with existing desktop PC productivity tools and business systems, and it needs to integrate with a wide array of third-party services like media encoders, editing tools, video conversion engines, DRM encoders, and large file transfer services. Also, it needs to enable metadata management for technical processing, cataloging, rights management, and contextual advertising. Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering extends Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to enable the development and deployment of integrated digital content management systems, leveraging core Microsoft products and technologies like Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Server,.NET, Silverlight, AJAX, and Visual Studio. Provides user interface elements for rich media digital content management Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering adds the following user interface elements (Web parts) to Office SharePoint Server 2007 (Table 5): 67

68 Web Part Media Library Silverlight-based Media Viewer Annotations Ontology Editor Description Presents the library of available content objects in an intuitive visual interface, with animated thumbnails and customizable metadata views. Users can view assets, edit metadata, and reorganize their content. In addition, many powerful workflow tasks can be started right from the Media Library, applied to one or many assets simultaneously. Content Managers and other users would use the Media Library to access the rich media (video) objects in the system. Displays all types of Silverlight supported content whether it is audio, video, or still images and graphics. It also shows information such as SMPTE time code. Provides a full set of playback controls, with the option to add other custom controls for manipulating content during playback. Support for multiple browsers and operating systems like Microsoft Internet Explorer Internet browser, Firefox, and Safari on Windows and Mac operating systems. Content Managers would use the Media Viewer to play back (proxies of) the rich media (video) objects in the system. Makes it possible for groups of people to collaborate on media assets through video annotations, digital inking, and discussions. Content Managers may use Annotations to log quality concerns and compliance issues. They can also use Annotations to mark up the video timeline with ad keywords, driving the insertion of contextual advertising. For example, if a luxury car is visible in a shot, then luxury car may be entered as an ad keyword, creating an opportunity to place advertising on luxury cars or related products in the appropriate editorial context. The Ontology Editor provides rich capabilities at the project level for teams to use the power of the semantic metadata store without compromising the integrity of the main database on the back end. This tool would be used by Content Marketers to view and edit metadata. Silverlight-based RCE enables users to load proxies of selected video objects (with the Rough Cut Editor (RCE) proxies relating directly to the master assets digital tape, SD, or HD digital video files) and edit them in a lightweight browser experience with the power to generate frame-accurate edit decision lists (EDLs). These lists are for use in professional non-linear editing systems like Avid s Media Composer, Apple s Final Cut Pro, and/or Adobe Premiere. RCE would be used by Content Managers to prepare QC, conformance edits, and trailer and promo edits. RCE enables server-side editing and does not require additional client-side downloads or the installation of a desktop application. Table 5: Web parts in Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering 68

69 Figure 51: Media Library, Media Viewer, and Annotations Web parts Figure 52: Rough Cut Editor Web part These Web parts provide the user interface for key digital content management processes, and they are customizable to meet specific requirements. Powerful, standards-based metadata management Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering introduces a powerful, XML-based, semantic metadata model that uses the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) specifications from the World Wide Web Consortium. Whereas traditional metadata merely lists characteristics, RDF allows users to make descriptive statements about resources and to create links and associations within the content taxonomy. Also, it enables rules-based inheritance of metadata properties to new objects, adding nuance and intelligence to metadata management beyond SQL Server. 69

70 Gathers information with Microsoft Office InfoPath The Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 information-gathering program provides an efficient method of capturing targeted metadata about media assets. Office InfoPath 2007 forms reflect the needs of individual roles so that relevant questions are automatically routed to people based on their Active Directory service status and assigned a role in SharePoint Server. For example, companies can configure workflows to send targeted business-oriented forms to producers of video content, while the editors of that content receive different forms directly pertaining to the editing process. The Digital Content Management offering includes a semantic metadata store, which uses RDF and enables computers to automatically understand complex relationships between content objects and categories based on those objects metadata properties. Most important, the RDF model overcomes traditional barriers to metadata sharing between systems by using a standardized way of describing the metadata structure. Enhances workflows SharePoint Server uses Windows Workflow Foundation to provide support for manual workflows, automated machine-based workflows and provide better insight into workflow status. As a component of the Microsoft Office System, SharePoint Server integrates with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 messaging and collaboration client, enabling workflows that reflect the way people actually work. SharePoint Server pushes tasks and forms directly to a user s Inbox, facilitating review and approval processes, for example. Behind the scenes, SharePoint Server provides powerful tools for quickly building complex workflows and monitoring the performance of those workflows. SharePoint Server offers built-in workflow reporting functions that show the status of ongoing workflows, and also the time spent on workflows and the steps included. Windows Workflow Foundation and Microsoft SharePoint Server-based technologies simplify the creation of workflows incorporating both human and automated processes. Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering includes workflow samples for importing and transcoding content, gathering metadata, reviewing and approving content, and staging content for distribution. Developers can use these samples as a reference for building customized workflow designs that support media and entertainment companies unique business processes. Works on multiple browsers SharePoint Server and the extensions included in Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering work on Windows Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari, making it possible for creative workers to access the same information and systems as people from other departments and companies. Also, the extensions included in the Digital Content Management offering support cross-browser video playback with Microsoft Silverlight. Enables easy customization SharePoint Server and the extensions included in Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering are based on an open architecture and can be customized easily to meet specific requirements. The software development kit (SDK) available for the extensions follows the same patterns as the SharePoint Server SDK and provides guidance and tools for customizing existing functionality and building out new components, data models, and workflows. The SDK provides a set of Microsoft.NET-connected class libraries, Web part templates, and workflow samples, and 70

71 Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 forms. Developers who want to build new or customized existing Web parts can also take advantage of ASP.NET AJAX integration for the SharePoint Server 2007 platform included in the SDK Digital content distribution Windows Media Services, Internet Information Services 7.0 Media Pack, Move Networks Cost-effectiveness, security, scalability 4, robustness, and reliability obviously are key aspects of implementing the digital content distribution business function. As this blueprint is based on the Microsoft Software-plus-Services approach, the digital content distribution function can either be deployed as an on-premise service using Windows Media Services in Windows Server 2008 or as a hosted or cloud service. Microsoft Windows Media Services in Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Windows Media Services 2008 ( is an industrial-strength platform for streaming live or on-demand audio and video content to clients over the Internet or an intranet. Windows Media Services 2008 may be used to configure and manage one or more Windows Media servers running on the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Clients can be computers or devices that play the content using a player, such as Windows Media Player or Silverlight; computers running Windows Media Services that are proxying, caching, or redistributing your content; or custom applications that have been developed using the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK). Windows Media Services 2008 contains a new, built-in cache/proxy plug-in that you can use to configure your Windows Media server either as a cache/proxy server or a reverse-proxy server. Key product features include: Advanced Fast Start: Fast Start delivers an instant-on playback experience by eliminating buffering time. When a viewer connects to a stream, the first few seconds of data are sent using the maximum available bandwidth so that playback can begin as soon as possible. Advanced Fast Start adds to these capabilities by allowing Windows Media Player to begin playing content as soon as its buffer receives a minimum amount of data, further reducing the amount of time a user must wait to begin receiving the stream. Play While Archiving: Broadcast content can be archived to a file, and the archived content can be made available for on-demand requests or rebroadcast even before the broadcast is finished being archived. Advanced FF/RW: Improved fast-forward and rewind ( trick mode ) functionality for the video portion of content stabilizes network bandwidth availability by using separate files for each FF/RW speed. This results in a fixed bandwidth requirement per client, regardless of playback speed, and greatly smoothes the FF/RW 4 It should be noted that scalable does not mean at scale, but it means that the architecture can move from very small scale to very large scale where cost is commensurate with scale. Therefore, those operating at small scale only need to have a scalable architecture even if they have yet to exploit this and move to large scale. 71

72 experience. Potential server performance bottlenecks are reduced because the server must read less presentation data from the source content disk, while delivering a seamless experience to clients. Ultimate Streaming Experience: o Fast Streaming capabilities in Windows Media Services effectively eliminate buffering time and reduce the likelihood of playback interruptions due to network conditions. Features like Fast Start, Fast Cache, Fast Recovery, and Fast Reconnect provide an always-on viewing experience by streaming content with minimal buffering and down-time, even over high latency network connections such as wireless and satellite. o Combined with Windows Media Player 10 or later, Windows Media Services can provide an instant-on/always-on playback experience for users on broadband networks. It dramatically improves streaming reliability and responsiveness for dial-up users, virtually eliminating annoying buffering delays and interruptions when playing digital media content. Windows Media Services features like Advanced Fast Start, Advanced FF/RW, and Play While Archiving also make it ideal for delivering a high-quality experience to IPTV viewers. Dynamic Content Programming Windows Media Services enables dynamic content programming, so you can instantly update and personalize content to provide the most compelling user experience. Take advantage of these programming capabilities: o Automatically program and seamlessly update digital media content on-the-fly. o Make program changes during on-demand or live broadcasts, change the order of clips, insert an ad, insert a new clip, and more, without interruption to the viewer. o Generate revenue with a wide variety of advertising types, including lead-in or interstitial ads, which you can easily integrate with third-party advertising servers. Advanced reporting ensures tracking of how and when ads are viewed. o Make streaming content more relevant and useful to each user by automatically generating personalized playlists that are tailored to individual audience members. Industrial-Strength Platform Windows Media Services provides simplified, flexible administration with increased reliability and security. Developers can integrate and extend streaming environments with this extensible platform, which provides: o Increased scalability. Windows Media Services reduces costs by enabling economical streaming for the largest enterprises and content distribution networks (CDNs). Maximize scalability of rich-media delivery in Windows Media Services by extending multicasting capabilities beyond audio and video content to include Web pages, slides, and images. o Cache/proxy solutions. New in Windows Media Services 2008, the built-in WMS Cache/Proxy plug-in can be used to control native cache and proxy policies. Cache/proxy 72

73 solutions are cost-effective and efficient, enabling organizations to conserve network bandwidth, decrease network-imposed latency, and decrease the load on origin servers. o Flexible administration. Servers can be managed in virtually any environment through the familiar Microsoft Management Console (MMC), a Web browser, or command-line scripts. Diagnose possible service outages or configuration issues with the Windows Media Services Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager, and use the information to correct server issues or optimize the server for performance. o Robust use-limit parameters. Windows Media Services provides the industry s most robust set of properties, enabling IT professionals to set limits down to the individual transaction level to ensure that transmissions do not exceed the capabilities of the server, network, or client. o Secure delivery. Secure server-to-server and server-to-client distribution of content uses a variety of common authentication and authorization mechanisms, including new support for Kerberos and HTTP Digest. Windows Media Services also supports digital rights management (DRM) for on-the-wire and persistent client-side security. o Extensibility. Windows Media Services is an open platform that exposes more than 500 properties and methods of nearly 60 interfaces. You can use the rich set of interfaces to configure a Windows Media server programmatically, monitor both the server and clients connected to it, or access logging statistics. Internet Information Services 7.0 Media Pack Microsoft Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7) ( Media Pack enables content service providers to move from dedicated streaming servers (using Windows Media Services) to HTTP-based delivery via Web servers (using IIS7). The IIS7 Media Pack will bring media-specific features, previously exclusive to dedicated streaming media servers, to a Web server. It further improves the user experience through Extensions for Bit Rate Throttling, Web Playlists, and Smooth Streaming: Bit Rate Throttling is an IIS 7.0 Extension that provides content service providers a highly configurable tool to control the speed of delivery for any file based on its type. In particular, it offers an optimal experience for media files as they are requested, while intelligently allocating bandwidth as the content is progressively downloaded. As a result, a high-quality, end-user experience is maintained when viewing media, while the server administrator controls the bandwidth use based on the user s consumption of the media, rather than the bandwidth availability. Bit Rate Throttling enables content service providers to save bandwidth costs by dynamically adjusting the download rate based on the type of the content being delivered through easily configurable server-side rules (Figure 53). A Fast Start experience for media playback is guaranteed by sending a few seconds of the content at the highest possible data rate before throttling down the delivery. Bit Rate Throttling allows you to manage the bandwidth allocation on all your concurrent downloads by implementing features that dynamically adjust the bandwidth according to the characteristics of the media files 73

74 being downloaded. Bit Rate Throttling allows you to add support for other media file formats through its extensible architecture. Figure 53: Internet Information Services Configuring Bit Rate Throttling 74

75 Web Playlists is an IIS 7.0 Extension that provides content service providers finegrained control of how media content is delivered to users. Powerful customization features make it possible to insert advertising and dynamically determine the content to be downloaded based on the session history and serverside configurable rules. Web Playlists let content service providers deliver servercontrolled media playlists from Web server infrastructure rather than using a dedicated streaming server (Figure 54). Content service providers can control whether users can Seek or Skip for each media asset, which is relevant for monetizing content with preroll and in-stream ads. Web Playlists also obfuscate the location of media assets from the end user and prevent client-side caching of those assets. Figure 54: Internet Information Services creating a simple Web Playlist 75

76 Smooth Streaming (see the demos at an upcoming media extension for IIS7, enables affordable adaptive streaming of media to Silverlight clients over HTTP. It dynamically detects current network and local PC conditions, and seamlessly switches the video quality of a media file that a Silverlight player receives. Consumers with high-bandwidth connections can experience HD quality streaming, and others with lower bandwidth speeds receive an appropriate stream for their connectivity, allowing the audience to enjoy a consistent high-quality streaming experience without buffering or stuttering (Figure 55). Figure 55: Internet Information Services smooth streaming Creating and deploying content for Smooth Streaming is simple. Using Expression Encoder 2 SP1, service providers may encode several quality levels of a specific piece of content; each media quality level is encoded as its own complete file. They then may choose one of the Expression Encoder Silverlight 2 templates and publish all of the media content and the Silverlight player directly to a Smooth Streaming-enabled IIS server. Once IIS receives a request for media, it creates virtual chunks from each video file and delivers the best bits possible to the end user. Smooth Streaming provides media companies a better way to make HD on the Web a reality. It offers code-free deployment and simplified content management for content creators and content delivery networks. For end users, the improved video viewing experience will bring the reliability and quality of television to online video services. More information on Windows Media Services and IIS7 can be found at 76

77 Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) As an alternative to building their own digital content distribution platform, service providers may opt to use an existing CDN like Akamai, Limelight, or Level 3. There are several defining aspects of a CDN that usually make using one far more efficient than building one: CDNs need to be built for very large scale and global distribution both for bandwidth and storage. CDNs need to allow for the caching of content as close to the end-user consumer as possible for very high performance. As mentioned above, if the proposed architecture is to be used for streaming content, it is important to select a CDN designed for streaming content. Many available CDNs, though, have been developed to deliver static content and not necessarily streaming content. Also important to consider is the ability to revoke content in a timely fashion. Most CDNs have API function calls that can be invoked from the revocation process to rapidly remove content from the network even though multiple copies have been distributed to the edge cache servers. Figure 56: A Content Distribution Network (Unicast edge server sourcing from a multicast broadcast on an origin server) Using Move Network s video streaming technology with Silverlight Move Networks ( ), a provider of video streaming technology and services, partners with Microsoft to enable Move Networks high-quality video streaming technology within Microsoft Silverlight. Microsoft Silverlight now supports Move Networks video streaming technology that allows for fast start times, smooth playback with no buffering, and high-quality video resolution. The Move Media Player is currently used to deliver HD video content online by leading media companies such as ABC, the CW, Discovery Communications, ESPN, Fox, Warner Brothers, and many others. As online video viewing continues to grow exponentially, Move Networks technology combined with the Microsoft Silverlight open, flexible platform will give media companies and developers the ability to quickly deploy unique online television offerings. Within one environment, developers can seamlessly provide unique branding and navigational elements within, around, and on top of the highest quality online video on the Internet Advertising Fast AdMomentum A digital advertising solution should help Executive Producers and Ad Sales Managers to define and manage advertising opportunities, and help them to sell the inventory at the highest possible 77

78 price. It should also help advertisers to plan their advertising campaigns, select suitable editorial contexts and targeted demographics for their ads, and track the effectiveness of their campaigns. A digital advertising solution should not be a black box for content service providers and advertisers. It should put content service providers in control of their inventory, and advertisers in control of their campaigns. It also should act as a central hub serving all ads, regardless of media type or ad format, and provide support for a wide variety of delivery channels, including traditional Web sites, blogs, and RSS feeds. FAST AdMomentum ( is a digital advertising solution meeting these requirements. It enables content service providers to offer query- and contextbased ads, multiple ad formats, various ad targeting methods, and rich back-office tools. This digital advertising solution is described in more detail below, but first we take a look at how contextual and targeted advertising works in the proposed blueprint. How contextual and targeted advertising works Here is an example of how contextual and targeted advertising works in solutions based on this blueprint. While the video player in the client (Chapter 3) is playing back content to a user, it encounters timeline markers that have been encoded into the digital video using Expression Media Encoder (see section above). In the proposed client design, the timeline markers are used to define ad keywords that relate to that current scene in the content (or put another way, the context of the current scene in the video). For example, if the video is currently showing a women walking down the street with a handbag and using her mobile phone, then a timeline marker may be created with handbag and phone as ad keywords. At this point, the client calls the advertising solution with these keywords and passes the profile of the current user. The advertising solution requests a relevant advert to display. At a high level, the advertising solution looks through the current active campaigns that are related to the passed keywords and returns the most relevant advert it can find. FAST AdMomentum FAST AdMomentum ( is a performance advertising and search monetization solution that allows content service providers to monetize their services. As an on-premise solution that the content service provider owns and operates, it enables content service providers to take back control, become independent from third-party ad networks like Google and Yahoo, and pocket every penny of ad income that their content services generate. With control back in their hands, content service providers can build better relationships with advertisers who seek to reach their audience. A branded ad portal powered by FAST AdMomentum eliminates the middleman and enables content service providers to build direct, long-lasting relationships with advertisers and agencies. With FAST AdMomentum, content service providers can provide superior targeting and greater returns than with black box thirdparty networks. FAST AdMomentum is accessible through Web pages. The following screenshots show how advertisers and publishers set up an account and log onto AdMomentum (Figure 57), set up an 78

79 advertising campaign, upload the content and define the target audience (Figure 58), and track the ad performance through reports (Figure 59). Figure 57: FAST AdMomentum welcome page Figure 58: FAST AdMomentum pages for advertisers: Campaign setup, ad content upload, target audience setting 79

80 Figure 59: FAST AdMomentum ad performance reporting account dashboard FAST AdMomentum helps media organizations stay in front with key capabilities like: Presenting the right ads at the right time with the help of FAST s industry-leading relevancy, automatically matching ads with search results and any contextually relevant content. Driving higher page yields with a configurable revenue engine that supports multiple ad models, including auction, CPC, CPM, CPA, and paid inclusion. Extending reach by using the built-in syndication tools to deliver ads to affiliate sites, owned sites, small local advertisers, and even to alternate channels such as mobile and online video or IPTV services. Analytics and Reporting The analytics and reporting capabilities of the above digital advertising solutions enable service providers to respond to changing conditions in a timely manner. This allows Ad Sales Managers to fine-tune the ad serving rules to take advantage of changing conditions to help maximize the returns from the ads. Also, actual data is recorded in real-time in relation to the ad inventory. This allows an Ad Sales Manager to query the data for any historical period, site section, or ad size, enabling them to forecast with confidence and maximize their advertising revenue. The analytics and reporting capabilities of these digital advertising solutions are discussed in more detail in section below E-commerce Microsoft Commerce Server Supporting a pay-for-content online video service requires an e-commerce solution to support sales of digital goods and online service delivery, user profiling, and content targeting. The service also requires open interfaces to integrate with the solutions supporting the digital content management, digital rights management, and digital content delivery business functions. Microsoft Commerce Server ( meets these requirements, providing subsystems for defining and managing content offerings ( products ) 80

81 and catalogs, content inventories, end-user profiles, pay-for-content orders, and content marketing. Key functionalities include: Catalogs: Products, variations, virtual catalogs, virtual properties, multiple languages and currencies, powerful full-text and property-based search Inventory: Searching, back-ordering, out-of-stock items Profiles: Personalization, user targeting, organizations, purchase orders Orders: Pipeline architecture, order splitting, multiple shopping carts Marketing: Content targeting, up-sell and cross-sell capabilities, advertisements, campaigns, discounts, coupons Commerce Server Concepts Important concepts within Commerce Server are those of the Product Family, Attributes, Variants, Categories, and Relationships. Clearly defining the product taxonomy is important so that it can be mapped into Commerce Server to help drive the user experience. For example, a commercial offering such as premium footage of a football match can be described as a Product Family. This Product Family has many Attributes such as: duration, release date, expiration date, title, and content rating. However, it is quite possible that there are many Variants in this Product Family: a high-bit rate download to own (DTO) variant, a low-bit rate stream only version, and more. Variants are defined by having additional Attributes that allow it to vary within the Product Family (for example, bit rate, format, digital rights, etc.). If the Variant Attributes are commercially significant, then it is likely that pricing is set at the Variant level. For example, the download-to-own version in HD quality costs more than streaming a low-bit rate version. Categories are also important to group (relate) products together. For example, subscription tiers could easily be implemented by creating three categories: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Products are then associated with a single category or multiple categories, defining the product relationships. By interrogating the Customer Profile (another Commerce Server subsystem), the system can determine which category of products is to be made available to the consumer. Of course, a product associated with the Gold category will also be associated with the Silver and Bronze categories, but it may also be associated with a Football Genre Category. Other relationships might include cross-sells and up-sells. Commerce Server allows a Product to be related to as many other Products as necessary, and each Relationship can be given a type: for example, up-sell (buy the season subscription instead of a single piece of content), cross-sell, goes well with, and competes with. It is then down to the User Experience to express and traverse these Commerce Server Relationships in the best and commercially sensible way. There are many additional concepts in Commerce Server such as Virtual Catalogs and the Content Selection Framework. Virtual Catalogs are catalogs defined through rules such as: all products in the Bronze category apply a discount of 10 percent. This allows the Content Selection Framework to pick up on customer Profile properties such as Annual Bronze Subscriber and connect them to the Preferred Bronze Subscriber Virtual Catalog. 81

82 It is typical for a Product (a content offering) to be related to other Products through a variety of relationships. For example, an episode may be part of a Commerce Server Category that groups all the episodes together. But it may be useful to establish relationships to other Products such as next episode, and previous episode. Defining commercial offerings Expressing commercial rules in Commerce Server can be achieved through many ways. For example, it may be done explicitly by creating an Attribute called Available for Preview On and another called Available to Purchase On. These attributes would allow the Business Logic and Presentation to make the product discoverable, pre-viewable, and pre-orderable, but not available to purchase and download. Another example might be to create a Product Family and only create Variants that you are able to deliver. For example, creating a Product Family Premier League Final and only creating a HD download-to-own Variant are explicit in that no other Variant exists and so it is not available as an LD stream. Depending on the nature of the proposition, it is likely that there will be transactions with the end consumer. This may be related to paying for content, purchasing a subscription, or even related merchandise. The Commerce Server Orders subsystem supports commercial transactions. Commerce Server offers API and Web Service level interfaces into its systems, allowing these customer transactions (interactions) to be delivered to the CRM system or messages sent to reporting systems to enable them to drive activity from marketing through to BI and reporting both internally and externally. Commerce Server can also handle multiple languages and currencies. Once the Product Catalog has been structured and populated, other activities can begin such as using the Commerce Server Marketing system to define discounts that target either the individual line item or the entire order (for example, 20 percent off an individual item or 20 percent off each item being checked out). Commerce Server out of the box can allow you to configure the following forms of discount: Simple Discount: Offer a price reduction on a product by a percentage or a monetary amount. For example, buy an episode and receive 25 percent off the original price. Minimum Purchase Discount: Offer a price reduction on a minimum quantity purchase. For example, buy two matches and receive 20 percent off each. Buy N, Get one Free: Offer a free gift with a minimum quantity purchase. For example, buy two matches and receive a third one for free. Paired Discount: Offer a price reduction on a product if another product is purchased. For example, buy a minimum subscription and receive 10 dollars off a premium blockbuster. Paired Set Discount: Offer a price reduction on an item if a certain quantity of another item is purchased. For example, buy three matches and receive 30 percent off an annual football subscription. Order Discount: Offer a price reduction on the order total, if a certain amount is purchased. For example, buy 50 dollars worth of content and receive 10 percent off the total order. 82

83 Other strategies include creating special categories of related products, targeting the discount at that category, and allowing the consumer to add the category to the basket. As described earlier, Commerce Server is a Framework that allows individual businesses to express their products and proposition in the way they prefer and in a way they feel differentiates them in the market. The Rights and Royalties associated with video content can also be defined in Commerce Server as Products with Attributes. For example, The Professionals is a Category and Series 1 is a Category with each episode a Product Family with Attributes such as Title, Duration, and Description. The Variants of the Product family would be U.K. only, Spain only, etc. This catalog would drive an online video service to enable users to discover these Products and purchase them. The fulfillment of the transaction (i.e., Royalties payments) could either trigger a workflow to an existing process of manual sign-off and media delivery or to an automated download of appropriately digitally rights managed content. This workflow would be handled by Microsoft BizTalk Server reading out the committed orders from the Commerce Server standard Web service interfaces and controlling the business process. Currently Rights and Royalties management systems exist outside the scope of this blueprint. However, it is more than likely that these systems will be integrated, via a tool such as BizTalk Server, to the ERP, which could export these definitions as Products into Commerce Server to support this scenario. In summary, Commerce Server has a very flexible system for defining Product Families, Attributes, Variants, Categories, Relationships, Virtual Catalogs, and commercial rules, and through integration with other systems, can also manage the customer transactions and royalty payments. Integration with ERP systems Commerce Server does not have to be the primary store for information about content offerings ( products ). In some cases, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system such as SAP R/3 or Microsoft Dynamics may hold the primary products database. In those cases, using Microsoft BizTalk Server ( can help reduce the cost and time required for integration with existing line-of-business (LOB) applications; Commerce Server ships with BizTalk Server adapters to simplify this. Integration with DCM systems In the proposed architecture, content objects are managed in SharePoint Server deployed with Microsoft Services Digital Content Management offering. This is where digital content is initially loaded and prepared for distribution (see section ). As part of the e-commerce business function, the content objects are associated with content offerings in Commerce Server. Commerce Server then manages the commercial aspects of the content offering, for example, its categorization, pricing, promotions, and which products are available to which tier of subscribers. Because the Digital Content Management system is based on SharePoint Server, and Commerce Server provides for out-of-the-box integration with SharePoint Server, integration of the DCM system and Commerce Server is straightforward (Figure 60). 83

84 Figure 60: Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, or Mojave, logical architecture diagram Digital rights management Microsoft PlayReady Digital rights management technology makes sure that content, typically pay content, is used according to the usage license granted to the user. It should support a variety of different business models and content use scenarios pay-to-own, pay-per-view, content sharing etc., and it should work transparently across many file formats, platforms, and devices, enabling users to view content on the device of their choice. Microsoft PlayReady content access technology ( meets these requirements, enabling a wide range of business models to be applied to virtually any type of digital content, including music, video, ringtones, images, games, and more. Whether content service providers are looking to deploy purchase, subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview, or super-distribution business models, Microsoft PlayReady will meet their needs and provide easier-to-use entertainment experiences for consumers. Microsoft PlayReady is the evolution of Windows Media DRM. As a content access technology, PlayReady enforces usage rules and may protect the content from being used in unauthorized ways. Usage rules can include expiration dates, whether the content can be transferred to a portable device, and more. Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, is designed and optimized to enable key Silverlight online content distribution scenarios, including live streaming, on-demand streaming, and progressive download. Silverlight DRM is described in more detail below. The Microsoft PlayReady ecosystem The main elements of the Microsoft PlayReady ecosystem are PC clients, devices, and servers. PlayReady devices and PC clients for playing back content are capable of acquiring protected content, interpreting a license, and enforcing the rules contained in the license. 84

85 PlayReady Servers include: Content Packaging Servers: Take in unprotected content and package it for distribution. When the content is packaged, the protected content is copied to a Distribution Server and the license information is transferred to a License Server. Distribution Servers: Are used to store and distribute content. Distribution Servers are usually Web servers but Microsoft PlayReady technology does not require a specialized Web server for content storage and distribution. License Servers: Store the content protection information and rights for using the content. Before a client can play back protected content it must acquire a license, typically from a license server (or the license may already be embedded in the content file). Domain Controllers: Are used to determine what the domain represents (a user, a family, or a group of users, for example) and holds a list of entities that are associated with the domain. The Domain Controller also enforces the policy defining how many devices or PCs may join the domain. Metering Servers: With metering, the device maintains a count of how many times a file is played. When the portable device connects to a computer or the Internet, this metering count is uploaded to the content provider. Metering does not alter or affect any behavior on the user s system and does not identify the user. Metering allows the content provider to accurately assess royalties. Because metering can be more cost-effective, service providers can provide much larger music catalogs for customers to download. Figure 61: Illustration of how content and licenses flow between PlayReady servers and clients to enable access to protected content Figure 61 shows the components of the PlayReady product suite and how they enable different DRM-protected content distribution processes. 85

86 Protecting content In use, Microsoft PlayReady protects content by encrypting data files. Because files are encrypted, the data is protected. Thus, the files may be moved, archived, copied, or distributed without restriction. There is no need to hide files, make them inaccessible, or put special protection in place when files are transmitted from system to system. In other words, there are no requirements for high security transport or storage mechanisms. Each license contains rights and restrictions, defining exactly how the data in a file may be used, and under what conditions. For example, a music file license may contain a right to play but not a right to burn to CD, and it might enable these rights for the period between September 1, 2008 and October 1, It is also possible that there are multiple licenses for a single file. As long as one of those licenses grants the needed right, the user can access the content. Copy protection Copying protected content and giving it to a friend does not necessarily enable them to use the content until they have obtained the proper license. However, PlayReady supports granting licenses for content to be consumed on a single PC or as a member of a domain specified by the content service. Because licenses need no longer be bound to a single PC, but can refer instead to a virtual entity (the domain), content sharing within the domain is easier. Protected content can be consumed by any user that is part of the domain (a user, a family, or a group of users, for example). Additionally, the PlayReady support of embedded licenses means that protected content that is bound to the domain can be simply transferred to any device that is part of the domain, and the content and its domain license can be backed up just like any other file. Silverlight DRM Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, is designed and optimized to enable key Silverlight online content distribution scenarios and protected connected in-browser experiences, including live streaming, on-demand streaming, and progressive download ( Using Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, in combination with Web and server-side playlists, as well as Internet-standard schemes like authentication and authorization, and SSL, content owners can fully protect and monetize their media assets. End-to-End Content Protection: With Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, content owners have a proven system for ensuring content, including advertising, stays encrypted from server to Silverlight plug-in until it is decompressed during playback. Unlike stream encryption technologies, which only protect content as it is transmitted from server to player, PlayReady protects the actual content inside a secure encrypted wrapper. Whether sitting on a server in a datacenter or on an end-user s hard drive, PlayReady ensures that content is used only as intended by the content owner. Range of Content Protection Solutions: Silverlight DRM, powered by PlayReady, together with Web playlists, server-side playlists, authorization/authentication, and SSL-based stream 86

87 encryption, offers a range of techniques ensuring that content, advertising, and user experiences are protected. Compatible with Windows Media DRM 10: The Silverlight 2 run time can consume Windows Media DRM 10 encrypted content, extending the reach of Windows Media DRMprotected content into Silverlight-based experiences. Third-party solutions for protecting Silverlight experiences: With the extensibility and openness of Silverlight, third parties are able to build content protection solutions, extending customer choice and opening up infrastructure options Customer relationship management Microsoft Dynamics CRM In the context of providing an online video service, a customer relationship management (CRM) system should support ad sales, content sales, content marketing, and customer service processes: In ad sales, it should help Ad Sales Manager to gain better understanding of their customers needs, build better customer relationships, and be more proactive. It should also help Ad Sales Manager succeed in a market with increasingly complex sales processes and relieve them from administrative work so that they can focus on selling. In content sales, it should help Content Managers track past customer interactions, customer preferences, and content buying patterns to help drive more content sales and more profitable customer relationships. In content marketing, it should help Content Marketers plan, implement, and measure more effective content marketing campaigns by analyzing buyer trends, behaviors, and offers that allow your marketing teams to track real-time results and optimize return on investment (ROI). In customer service, it should help customer service agents to immediately recognize the customer, provide a 360-degree view of past customer interactions, and provide knowledge management capabilities, enabling service professionals to share answers and insight with customers with ease. Microsoft Dynamics CRM ( meets these requirements, providing the following key benefits and functionalities: General Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Usability: Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers CRM functionality as a natural extension of Microsoft Outlook, so most people in organizations will already know how to use it. Customer s, appointments, tasks, and contacts are all in one place, so people are ready to focus on sales, not administration. Office integration: For instance, a calendar that supports different time zones helps teams to better plan joint activities. 87

88 Better customer insight: Understanding customers needs more fully helps foster better relationships with them. This applies to both advertisers and consumers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides centralized, but customizable CRM functionality to view their preferences and interaction history, and it allows content service providers to enhance user profiles with each interaction. Better data management: The wizard-based Data Migration Manager enables easy migration of data from existing systems, and robust data management and data cleansing capabilities help with bulk processes like purges, data duplication detections, real-time duplicate detections, de-duplication, opt-in/opt-out management, and record deletions. Benefits related to Ad Sales/Content Sales Opportunity qualification: Knowing who the best prospects are helps to focus sales efforts and spend time cultivating the relationships. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides easy access to required data and a clear picture of top leads and prospects. Better sales processes: To make sure best practices are applied in each process instance, Microsoft Dynamics CRM uses a workflow system that supports human workflow based on templates reflecting the best practices, and that helps to automate PC-based processes. Lead and opportunity management, automated lead routing, enforceable qualification methodologies, sales process management, and competitor tracking become more consistent, so an organization s sales team can be more productive. Sales performance analysis: Flexible reporting provides the information to identify trends, problems, and opportunities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps to forecast sales, measure business activity and performance, and track sales and service success. Relationship tracking: Simplify tasks by easily adding, tracking, and editing relationships between your contacts, accounts, and suppliers. You can even define relationship hierarchies between companies or individuals, or create new types of relationships intuitively from the user interface. Benefits related to Content Marketing Keep customers informed: When new content offerings or new functionality are available, organizations can push information to customers automatically with simple, wizard-driven marketing and sales force tools. Campaign management: Enables marketing team to quickly set up and execute a targeted marketing campaign on the fly via a guided wizard. Plus, it is straightforward to integrate customer records to marketing lists and define and export/import security roles and system settings. 88

89 Benefits related to Customer Service Superior customer service: Advanced organizational case management is available to quickly create, manage, and resolve service issues with streamlined access to Service Level Agreements (SLA). Includes access to case history, problem diagnosis, and resolution information. Customer service automation: Service requests can be assigned, managed, and resolved with automated routing, queuing, and escalation, along with case management, communications tracking, and auto-response . Quick and accurate issue resolution: First-call resolution rates can be improved using a searchable, shared knowledge base of information organized by content offering and service category. Continuous improvement of customer satisfaction: Customer satisfaction can be measured proactively during each service interaction to help ensure long-term customer loyalty. Figure 62: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Profile 89

90 Figure 63: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tracking Customer Interactions Customization and Integration Within the proposed architecture, the CRM system needs to be customized to address the specific needs of ad and content sales processes, and it needs to be integrated with the systems supporting the advertising, e-commerce, and attract and retain users business functions. All of these business functions require customer insight and at the same time can help to enhance the customer profile: The e-commerce solution (see section ) manages key customer interactions such as content purchases, which need to be tracked in the CRM solution to provide a 360-degree view of the customer. On the other hand, the CRM solution holds customer profiling data, which is needed to drive personalized content promotions in e-commerce, for example. The digital advertising solution (see section ) gathers clickstream data, which is an important part of the user profile stored in the CRM solution. This solution also offers a more complete picture of the entire customer journey through a Web experience. In addition, user behavior data provided by Web analytics providers might be tracked in the CRM solution. On the other hand, (anonymous) aggregate user profiles of certain target demographics may be used for targeted advertising. The tools used for attracting and retaining users (see section ) also require user profiling information for optimum results. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides point-and-click customization for out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Office (, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange Server, and for straightforward integration with other systems, as illustrated in Figure 64, taking advantage of the Microsoft BizTalk Server ( business process management capabilities. 90

91 Figure 64: Adapting and integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM with other systems For more details on the SOA of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, its business process automation capabilities, security features, and data model extensibility, please visit Managing user/customer profiles User/customer profiles stored in Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be surfaced to the Web services and clients through the ASP.NET Profile Provider model. If an organization s customer profiles are stored in multiple places, a custom provider can be written to span multiple data sources. Alternatively, Microsoft BizTalk Server can be used to integrate the standard ASP.NET Membership and Profile databases into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For example, let us assume the user Adia has registered as a premium member. This property is held in the membership and profile service, which could be Microsoft CRM. When she signs in to the user interface, the membership and profile authenticates her and allows the platform to authorize access to content. The added bonus is that once the platform has authenticated Adia, the experience can be customized and better targeted to meet Adia s preferences. Additionally, this demographic information can be used to improve the analytics data Attracting and retaining users FAST ESP, FAST Recommendations To attract users, the online video service needs to be easy to discover. Towards this end, an indexing and search service generating, for example, static topic pages that can be indexed by Internet search engines is required. To retain users, vertical navigation on the online video portal needs to be encouraged. The term vertical navigation describes a user behavior where users navigate within a site rather than moving away to other sites ( horizontal navigation). In the client design proposed as part of this blueprint in Chapter 3, vertical navigation is encouraged by doing either of the following. Enabling users to explore the content offered in an interesting and engaging way (see sections 3.2.2, 3.2.3, and 3.2.4). Finding some specific content they are looking for (see section 3.2.5). 91

92 For providing this functionality, the online video service requires an intelligent, fast, and scalable indexing and search service, which should tolerate spelling mistakes, suggest correct spellings, and apply fuzzy matching where necessary; extract descriptors from the metadata associated with the content to facilitate navigation, generate recommendations based on a user s past content selections; and take into account a user s personal preferences in ranking and structuring search results. In this blueprint, this functionality is enabled by FAST Enterprise Search Portal (ESP, and its add-ons. FAST ESP is a leading, very advanced enterprise search platform, with nearly 4,000 mission-critical installations worldwide. FAST ESP improves the discoverability of content on the Internet by optimizing how the content is indexed and ranked by major Internet search engines (Search Engine Optimization), and enables high levels of search precision and experience. It also lets users quickly find the content they are looking for and expand their searches into related content. Key underlying technologies of the FAST enterprise search platform are linguistics, FAST Contextual Insight, and alerts: Linguistic content and query processes improve relevance, recall, and precision. Combined with FAST Contextual Insight capabilities, this gives users a search engine that understands the real intent of a query, and as a result, gets the content that is relevant for users. Linguistic tools include language detection; tokenization 5 ; phrase detection 6 ; spell checking, and antiphrasing 7 of queries; grammatical normalizing of content or queries; lemmatization 8 ; query expansion using synonyms, and thesauruses. FAST Contextual Insight is the ability to extract facts, relationships, and answers from metadata and documents. Imagine the following query: What content about global warming is available? Conventional search engines return links to content objects whose metadata include the terms global and warming, likely a lengthy list of limited usefulness. FAST Contextual Insight search returns a list of titles about the concept of global warming and for each, the sentence that describes how the content relates to the concept of global warming. It answers the question. Facts, relationships, and answers contained inside structured and unstructured metadata can be effectively visualized in the discovery interaction. Content Spotlighting is enabled by a FAST ESP add-on, FAST Featured Content. FAST Featured Content is an embedded merchandising solution that allows content owners to highlight different pieces of content based on business drivers and objectives. It provides an easy-touse, graphical user interface (GUI) that allows site owners to define a set of rules for displaying content in response to user requests. These user requests, or triggers, can be any combination of keywords, navigators, categories, and user profiles. 5 Tokenization involves the detection of word delimiters in the text (white space and other symbols). 6 Phrase detection detects names and phrases and either automatically rewrites the query or provides a search tip. 7 Antiphrasing removes words that do not contribute to the query s meaning. 8 Lemmatization matches regular and irregular grammatical inflections. 92

93 Alerts inform users about new content that satisfies a stored query. Alerts are either real time or near real time, or they can be configured as asynchronous events that run on a scheduled basis. In addition, FAST ESP provides comprehensive search management and tuning capabilities to produce accurate, relevant, and timely results that meet the expectations of increasingly demanding users and the needs of the business. A set of rules-based tools enable Content Managers to monitor and tune search relevancy and to track the relevancy score across time. This makes it possible to track and manage impacts of other relevancy modifications on the system. Powerful query reporting enables operators to keep a close eye on search trends for each search profile in the FAST ESP system. Service providers can easily identify users most frequent queries, as well as queries that return zero results. FAST ESP comes with built-in deployment flexibility and comprehensive integration capabilities, allowing organizations to seamlessly integrate FAST ESP with their existing data sources and security fabric. These integration capabilities enable a unified, complete search experience where primary content is supplemented with value-added content from various internal and external data sources. FAST Federated Search enables the orchestration of the search experience using a combination of internally owned content, partner content, and externally paid subscription services. Via its open interfaces, FAST can process almost any metadata closed captioning, descriptive metadata, or metadata gathered from metadata services (for example, the All Media Group). Finally, FAST ESP offers linear scalability combined with high performance and high availability to deliver superior enterprise quality of service at or above the required minimums. It delivers endto-end security and ensures the security and confidentiality of information in all critical areas: the content, server environment, and search application. How these capabilities are relevant for attracting and retaining users to an online video service is described in more detail below. Attracting users through search engine optimization To attract users an online video service must be discoverable through the major Internet search engines. While paid links may help to attract some users to a site, having a site rank high in the major search engines hit lists is key for driving traffic to a site. The Microsoft platform and FAST ESP provide for the necessary search engine optimization: Building the online video service using Windows Server 2008, IIS7, ASP.NET, and enhancements such as System.Web.Routing enable search engine optimization. In addition, FAST ESP can generate meaningful topic pages that make the site even easier to find. 93

94 Figure 65: Topic Pages aggregate content to improve ability to discover (sample from Retaining users through superior relevancy An important question is how to make content promotions, content recommendations, content exploration, and search results more relevant to users, encouraging them to stay with the online video service. The key for addressing this question is making use of the context to tailor the results to the user s needs. FAST Contextual Insight, based on a core search innovation, introduces a semantic index that recognized and retains the inherent structure in a document and scopes the search to the structural element level. Conventionally, the scope is the document, Web page, or database record. With Contextual Insight, the scope can be the sentence, paragraph, XML, or structural element. Further, Contextual Insight annotates the scope with entity metadata by extracting all the entities it can find to provide answers. Entities include things like people s names, geographic locations, organization names, and concepts like global warming. FAST ESP supports about 40 entities, and the list is growing. In fact, there is an open interface for defining custom entities. This information, plus the environmental context, can be used to tailor search results to the user s needs. The most familiar contextual information that is used to narrow down search results, especially with the mobile community, is location awareness. Location awareness is enabled by a FAST ESP add-in called FAST Geo Search. It enables location-based content promotions, geoaware content recommendations, and search by location. Location awareness can significantly 94

95 increase relevancy of news content based on nearness to the user s location and enables users to sort content by distance. Contextual information, which helps to tailor hit lists to the user s needs, can also be derived from other sources: patterns in the query log (for example, music queries lead to ring tone requests), user profiles, clickstreams, search histories, to name a few. An example: If a user predominantly views sport or family films or has submitted searches for certain types of content, FAST ESP can begin to build up a profile of content preferences. By doing this for many users, groups of users gravitating towards certain content can then be identified and help content marketers provide more attractive content. If, for example, FAST has established that customers living in London gravitate towards Chelsea and Arsenal in their football viewing, then this information may be taken into account when they conduct searches of football content. FAST can identify names, addresses, zip codes, concepts, and more within this expanded content, which can be offered as navigators to users, helping them to explore the content universe. The example below (Figure 66), taken from the Getty Image s Catalyst search engine (, shows how FAST ESP generates descriptors that can be used in content navigation. Figure 66: Descriptors help users explore content collection (sample from 95

96 These navigation aims not only help to discover content, they also drive relevance and add to the ease of use. FAST ESP supports three navigation types: Taxonomic navigation uses concepts and categories from a taxonomy as navigators. Content objects are auto-categorized under these categories. Faceted browsing exposes database table fields as navigators. The navigators are the possible values as defined by the results of the previous search. Entity discovery extracts textual entities from the results of the previous search. Unlike taxonomies and facets, entity extraction draws its navigators directly from the results and is contextually aware. Implementation Depending on the organization s deployment of this blueprint, the content metadata may be stored in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the digital content management service, or even the e-commerce service. It may either be exported or kept in its original storage. In any case, FAST ESP can access and index the data, using an adapter to third-party systems if necessary. As a separate service, the indexing and search service can be scaled and configured to meet specific needs Community services Windows Live Community services can complement the online video experience by enabling users to share content recommendations, send each other links to content, and chat about content while or after they have viewed it. They even could enable users to create their own content and upload it to the online video service. If these community services already have a large user base, they could bring potential new customers to the online video service. Also, their analytics and reporting services can provide additional insight about user behaviors. Typically, community services would be provided as cloud services, and, ideally, they would be accessible via the same logon as the online video service, seamlessly integrated with the online video service both for functionality and branding. They might be complemented by (free) software applications such as an instant messaging (IM) client or a basic video editing tool that provide a rich IM UI and the ability to edit user-generated video content before uploading it, respectively. Windows Live, Microsoft s community services delivered through the Internet, provide these capabilities (information: service: Windows Live helps users to synchronize the way they communicate and share information, providing one convenient place online to share photos, files, and s, and have instant conversations. And with Windows Live ID, the same single identity can be used across all Window Live services as well as for logging onto the online video service. Windows Live encompasses several communications and community services, complemented by Windows Live Essentials, a set of free applications that seamlessly integrate with the services and are accessible through the Windows Live API (, which enables service providers to integrate Windows Live services with their content service offerings. Figure 68 and the following brief 96

97 descriptions provide an overview of the Windows Live services and how they might complement an online video service. Figure 67: Windows Live services Windows Live ID, Windows Live People, and Windows Live Contacts (not shown in Figure 67). These are user identity management services that let users securely log onto Live Services, manage their contacts from Hotmail Web-based service, Messenger, and Profile, and quickly connect to other users. In the context of the online video service, users might use this to connect with their friends for sharing content links and recommendations and for communicating with them about the content they are watching or have watched. Figure 68 shows the Windows Live login and a list of Windows Live IDs. Figure 68: Windows Live Login using Windows Live Contacts 97

98 Hotmail: Helps users to stay in touch with Web-based, easy-to-use, reliable e- mail, with spam protection and plenty of storage. SkyDriveTM storage technology: Allows users to store files online and share them with other users. In the context of an online video service, this allows users to share user-generated content. Events: Enables users to plan their next event with customized invitations, a guest list, RSVPs, and a place to share event memories online. Spaces: Users can express themselves with their own customized Web page with a blog, photos, videos, and more. Groups: Enables users to bring their team, club, or other group together with a Web page, calendar, and more. Profile: Users can share their personal profile and content activities, photos, links to other Web sites online with people they know. Photos: Users can post their favorite shots online in beautiful slide shows, available only to the people you choose. Calendar: Enables users to check their schedules, share calendars with others, and get reminders about upcoming appointments and events. For the most important Windows Live services, APIs have been publishing which services can be used to integrate them with an online video service. For instance, a user might use a customized Windows Live login as shown in Figure 68 to log onto the online video, which would give her direct access to all other Windows Live services without the need to log onto those separately. But Windows Live is more than just Web services; it also includes mobile services for Webenabled mobile devices. And it includes Windows Live Essentials, a set of free software applications that complement the Windows Live services. Figure 69 provides an overview of Windows Live Essentials applications. In the context of online video, Messenger for instant messaging, Family Safety parental controls, and Movie Maker for video editing probably are most relevant. These are described in more detail below. Figure 69: Windows Live Essentials 98

99 Messenger: Messenger can be used to send instant messages, play games, exchange pictures, and even send IMs to a friend s (mobile) phone. In the content of an online video service, Messenger could be used to connect to a friend, share a link to the video the user is currently watching, and chat about the video. Figure 70: Windows Live Messenger Mail: Windows Live Mail enables users to send s and manage their calendars for multiple accounts. Writer: Windows Live Writer is an authoring application for sharing ideas, photos, and videos on almost any blog service. Photo Gallery: Windows Live Photo Gallery enables users to upload photos and videos from their camera to their PC and share them on the Web. Movie Maker: With Windows Live Movie Maker, users can create movies from their pictures and video clips. In the context of an online video service, it lets users edit their video content before uploading it. 99

100 Figure 71: Windows Movie Maker Toolbar: The Windows Live Toolbar provides quick access to Windows Live and Live Search, from anywhere on the Web. Family Safety: Allows users to decide how their kids experience the Internet, with customizable Web filters and contact management Analytics & Reporting Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft PerformancePoint Server, Microsoft Commerce Server As outlined in section 5.11 above, analytics and reporting are key to ensuring the commercial success of the online video service, understanding user preferences and patterns of behavior, and supporting the effectiveness of ad campaigns. These requirements can be met through a combination of Microsoft and third-party services and Microsoft products: Microsoft Office SharePoint server provides reports on the status of workflows, and provides a rich set of data points on content items which can be used for building reports for the Content Manager role. Microsoft Commerce Server provides reports on the sale of content offerings for the Content Marketer and Executive Producer roles. Microsoft Advertising Solutions for publishers and FAST AdMomentum provide reports on ad sales and ad inventory for Ad Sales Managers, and help Media Buyers understand the effectiveness of their ad campaigns by analyzing ad impressions, click-through-rates, and more. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides reports on user profiles and service requests for the Content Marketer role and customer service agents. 100

101 FAST ESP s Search Business Center provides reports on user queries and content selections, helping Content Marketers to optimize query results and content offerings to match users demands. A Web analytics service is used to track user behavior through the end-user interface. For instance, Microsoft adcenter provides comprehensive analytics capabilities ( Windows Live Services provides further insight into user behavior. Microsoft SQL Server ( is used to aggregate, store, and analyze reporting data. Different SQL Server modules are used to support these functions: o Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services gather the data into the data warehouse and manage the creation of SQL Server Analysis Service OLAP cubes. o Microsoft SQL Server Data Warehouse stores the reporting data. o Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services process reporting data into required formats to support decision making. o Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services produce rich interactive reporting formats, delivered through the Web browser, reports, or printable documents. Microsoft PerformancePoint Server ( is used to manage the planning/reporting cycle and to produce dashboard reporting for the Executive Producer role. Web analytics A Web analytics service is necessary for collecting data at scale about how users are interacting with video content and ads. For example, Web analytics can help track the conversion of anonymous users to registered users, and help track the success of how many times ad X was clicked or how many times a particular piece of content was viewed. Furthermore, Web analytics can be combined with demographic data to provide value-added reporting as described in a later section. The following are some examples for Web analytics reports. The examples are taken from Microsoft adcenter, the digital advertising solution for Microsoft s online properties like and Path analysis 101

102 Path analysis visualizes navigational paths from or to a particular page in an interactive, graphical view, helping content service providers to understand where users are getting lost, and giving them ideas on how to better guide users through the service. Dashboard A dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of essential site statistics. In adcenter Analytics, it is customizable via drag-and-drop to meet specific information needs. Treemap The treemap view segments users by age and gender, etc., in an easy-todigest visualization and enables cross-referencing with site page use. Time trends With time trend reports, content service providers can see how traffic for particular item has changed in time. This report is useful for understanding when it was that an item started to contribute (or stopped contributing) traffic to the online video service. a More segmentation In addition to segmenting reports by age or gender, it is also useful to segment reports by age/gender composites so that service providers can see whether women more than 50-years-old are really into soaps or not. Additionally, Web analytics can also be useful for tracking page load errors and component load and streaming connection errors through the end-user interface. Reports for individual business functions Microsoft Commerce Server, Microsoft Advertising Solutions for publishers and FAST AdMomentum, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM provide the reports needed by individual business functions and user roles, as described above. For many roles and tasks, this is sufficient. For those users who typically just interact with one system, this system s standard reports are likely sufficient. For instance, the Content Manager who would be interested in monitoring the asset queue and content preparation workflow can rely on reports generated by SharePoint Server. Aggregated reports dashboards and scorecards To provide an aggregated view, like the Executive Producer scorecard shown in Table 4, data from different systems needs to be aggregated, analyzed, and visualized. For instance, the CRM component can report on how many new users registered with the service, the search engine can report on what people have been searching for, and the e-commerce component can report on what pay content people actually viewed, but only a data warehouse with analytics and reporting services can aggregate all this data into a coherent view on how the online video service is performing commercially (Figure 72). 102

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