At NAB Imagine Communications Brings Disparate TV Monetization Tools Under One Roof

At the 2022 NAB Show Imagine Communications will spotlight a new cloud platform that makes procuring and deploying software tools and microservices that help manage and monetize existing ad inventory and various types of program channels.

The platform, called Aviator, even suggests strategies for repurposing ad inventory and streamlining playout channels. Most importantly, Aviator brings much of the company’s intellectual property and experience to bear in order to support how customers want to Plan TV (content rights, scheduling), Make TV (Playout or channel origination) and Monetize TV for sales optimization, billing and ad decisioning in order to generate the most revenue.

While the “Make TV” component of the system will be demonstrated at NAB, the two other parts—Plan TV and Monetize TV—will come later in the year.

At the heart of Aviator is Imagine’s “audience-first” ad placement engine, which allows media companies to efficiently sell inventory by audience, by context, or by spot—regardless of the platform or delivery mechanism. New functionality, to be introduced after NAB, will enable media companies to maximize revenue by targeting commercials to audiences accurately; delivering CPM/CPI-style metrics across all platforms, including broadcast; and monetizing scenarios that are difficult to plan in advance, such as extra time in sporting events and breaking news programming.

Imagine Aviator helps monitor and manage ad scheduling, with customizable dashboards to manually interact with cloud channels and support live events.

Imagine Aviator helps monitor and manage ad scheduling, with customizable dashboards to manually interact with cloud channels and support live events.

Leveraging the AWS Cloud service, Aviator is offered via both subscription and SaaS models, recognizing that larger organizations prefer to work with their own cloud account under a subscription to these cloud-native services while smaller entities will choose the SaaS route, as it allows them to spin channels up and down as required—which saves cost and headaches, as the entire workflow is monitored, managed and maintained by Imagine staff. This, the company said, allows customers to reap the benefits of operational efficiency, while maintaining control of all creative aspects of their content.

“We know that the landscape is changing,” said Andy Warman, Senior VP of Product at Imagine Communications. “Rather than people buying silos of technology, we’re enabling customers to buy as much or as little as they need across the three main areas of content monetization. And it’s not just a dashboard or an orchestration solution, it’s a lot more than that.”

Aviator addresses the monetization of content across all screens, enabling media companies to optimize ad delivery, significantly improve the revenue of otherwise under-monetized OTT content and generate greater profitability from their media assets.

It combines scheduling, rights management, channel origination, live events, VOD, ad sales, ad placement, ad serving, campaign management, and more into a single cloud platform that can be operated from a HTML 5-based web browser user interface. It creates a converged solution that delivers linear programming and video-on-demand content with ads and triggers for local and dynamic ad insertion, making it easier for media companies to successfully monetize broadcast, OTT, FAST, pop-up and VOD content.

Providing fully automated operation of channels, the new platform also guarantees high audio and video quality on all outlets, using JPEG XS with low latency for live streaming events.

The real-world problem that Aviator solves is what Warman describes as the “Swivel Chair effect,” bringing centralized control over the entire content distribution operation.

“Many customers are using a separate system for Broadcast and OTT, so they are literally swiveling from one platform to another,” he said. “With Aviator, that is a thing of the past. We’re pulling all of the components and platforms together. For example, if I’m doing playout, I don’t have to operate a separate broadcast chain from my OTT chain. I can have a single playlist that generates the broadcast encoded and OTT encoded outputs simultaneously.”

The platform can also be set up to automatically add digital triggers into the stream to enable downstream dynamic ad insertion and Geo-tagged addressable ads. With it, users can configure the related tools to switch cleanly out of an ad break, which creates a nice seamless experience for the viewer.

At the end of the day, by unifying all of the necessary content/ad management tools under a single interface, Aviator will help customers to prepare, distribute and sell their inventory more effectively. For broadcasters and OTT providers alike that means few repeating ads, the ability to create customized promotional campaigns, automatically managing aging out content and the ability to have tighter control over their operations.

“The best part is that you don’t have to use everything on the platform until you need it,” said Warman. “Flexibility is the main point in all of this. Customers want the ability to choose how they want to work and not overspend.”

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