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Akamai's Adaptive Media Player Advances for NAB 2019, Adding Header Bidding and Ultra Low Latency

Introduction

Akamai Adaptive Media Player (AMP) helps publishers insert quality media playback experiences into web, mobile, and connected-TV applications. Publishers can leverage Akamai AMP for a single, modular SDK that pre-integrates playback, delivery, monetization, and measurement to ensure a fast, reliable, quality deployment. This can greatly reduce efforts and give a faster time to market.

Heading into NAB 2019, the AMP team at Akamai is excited to announce the release of Adaptive Media Player version 9. With this new version, AMP introduces several new capabilities:

  • Enhanced monetization for client-side and server-side ad insertion
  • Ultra Low Latency live streaming
  • General availability of native SDKs for mobile and TV applications
  • Continual expansion of the AMP ecosystem

AMP's monetization adds Video Header Bidding and expands SSAI

For media customers, monetization is the key concern, and the player plays a major role in driving revenue.  Adaptive Media Player continues to offer an robust implementation of Google IMA3 SDK as a Google Ad Manager Video Technology Partner as well as a widely deployed Freewheel Ad Manager implementation across all AMP platforms.

Now, we are excited to announce that Adaptive Media Player now supports video header bidding, right inside the player. (See a great into for header bidding here.) AMP accomplishes this by directly integrating the leading open-source framework for header bidding, Prebid.org (link).  With Prebid support, AMP customer can easily integrate any of the  50+ Prebid Video bidding partners. To get a jump start, we collaborated with Prebid.org member AppNexus (link) for our first large scale launch.  Additionally, AMP also supports video header bidding for Amazon Publisher Services (APS).  AMP's integration removes any manual client-side work a publisher would need to do. AMP's Prebid and APS plugins can work in parallel, and offer publishers the best of both Prebid and Amazon solutions.  

Additionally, we have solidified the plugins for server-side ad insertion support. Akamai Ad Insertion, powered by Yospace (link),  is supported and deployed for large scale production customers across all AMP platforms--web, iOS, Android, tvOS, AndroidTV, and FireTV.   Additionally, Google DAI (link) and Verizon Digital Media's upLynk Video Streaming (link)  are also strongly supported and deployed for AMP customers as well.

Altogether, AMP's monetization support....spanning CSAI, SSAI, header bidding, authentication plugins, and dozens of measurement partners... are unparallelled!

AMP is now a client for Ultra Low Latency for Live Streaming

Akamai has been a leader in reducing latency to live streaming. Since 2018, Akamai's Media Services Live 4 and Adaptive Media Delivery have offered a standards-based approach by using HTTP 1.1 chunked encoding transfer. Leading on-prem and cloud encoders are quickly adding support.  See Will Law's great article that lays it all out (link). As Will stated, "To obtain low end-to-end latency, the [stream] must be paired with encoder, CDN and client behaviors so that the overall system enables low latency."  

To this end, Adaptive Media Player is now an Ultra Low Latency client, and we are working to bring it to all platforms. To start, AMP can now bring sub-3 second latency live streaming for MPEG-DASH on Web, and to HLS and MPEG-DASH on Android.  Soon to follow will be HLS on Web and iOS. AMP leans on the strength of the best-in-class open source underlying components to make this happen: dash-js(link) , hls.js (link), and ExoPlayer with Akamai-authored ULL extensions(link).  This ensures our customers can harness the best of the global community for stream processing.

AMP native SDKs: Helping publishers build TV and mobile apps

Adaptive Media Player's origins go back to early 2010 as Akamai launched the "HD Network." Grass-roots efforts within Akamai created players for both web and native platforms. However, in the earlier years, our SDKs had limited focus, leaving the complexity of monetization and measurement to be handled by app developers.  With our latest release of AMP, we now officially offer feature parity for AMP's native SDKs. For all major features, AMP native SDKs featureset across Playback, Delivery, Monetization and Measurement now match our mature web SDK. Top Platforms are supported: for mobile: iOS and Android; and for TV: tvOS, AndroidTV, FireTV, and Chromecast.  Our in-market successes now include several broadcaster applications, covering client-side ad, server-side ads, Nielsen and Comscore; including both TV Everywhere and OTT business models. You can now have the confidence to simplify your video developments with Adaptive Media Player.  Check out our case study with Hallmark Channel (link)!

AMP Ecosystem of third party integrations: Seeded, and growing!

On a final note, Adaptive Media Player's ecosystem of partners is growing. Historically, AMP engineers have taken ownership for offering compatibility with major media ecosystem capabilities. For example, AMP offers Akamai-authored (first-party) plugins for Google, Freewheel, Yospace, Comscore, Nielsen, Adobe, and Conviva, and we have maintained those plugins. In the past, when a customer asked for a new integration, we added that new capability.

However, as AMP has grown, we have opened our APIs (link) to encourage third-party extensions. The following companies have authored plugins for AMP, and we are excited that they are bringing their respective unique capabilities to our common customers.

We look forward to further growth of the Adaptive Media Player ecosystem!

See you at NAB!

With these improvements, we're excited to help each and every publisher reach their business goals for media deployments. To learn more about Adaptive Media Player, visit our new demo site at player.akamai.com or contact your account team at Akamai.

Members of the Adaptive Media Player team will be at NAB. Stop by and visit our booth SL3324. To schedule a meeting, browse to https://content.akamai.com/me12201-nab-2019.html

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