Net2TV Corp., the company responsible for online linear TV platform Portico TV, has announced an expanded relationship with Bonnier Publishing, owner of magazines such as Popular Science. The Popular Science show, already available on smart TVs and Roku through Portico, has been extended and will be joined by two new shows “Saveur” and “Cycle World.”
The idea of magazines branching out into video is something I have talked about before. It seems like a natural extension of a brand that is already well established. Anyone with a passing interest in science is sure to know Popular Science, and highly likely to give an online channel or show by that name at least one or two curious views. This has obviously been working well for Bonnier Publishing, which is now expanding the relationship with Portico to include two new shows named after popular magazines, “Saveur” and “Cycle World,” in its stable.
The Portico TV platform is available broadly across tens of millions of devices, including smart TVs, browsers and the Roku set-top box. It provides an advertising driven environment for the delivery of “plain old television.” As Tom Morgan, CEO of Net2TV, told me, “The objective of Portico is to look exactly like ad supported TV.”
The solution that Portico providers is, however, quite unique in its approach to the world of online ad supported video. The platform is entirely cloud-based, without even the necessity of cookies on the client. This is important because it allows Portico to run on the maximum number of devices. It also fully supports splitting ad avails with the CE device maker, something smart TV manufacturers have been seeking for a very long time.
As I write this, I am in Korea and was surprised to find the Portico works here, just as in the States. Though the content I can watch is the same as in the US, there is a very important difference in what I see: the ads are Korean. Mr. Morgan explained to me that this unique cloud-based dynamic interstitial ad approach fully supported insertion of ads local to the region the viewer is in.
To get the video and ads to me in Korea, Portico executes a complex dance between the US and Asia. The video stream originates from the US, and when an ad break is coming up Liverail, in San Francisco, calls out to a Korean ad provider to determine what ad should be played. Liverail then contacts YuMe or Tremor Media for the ad, which is inserted by Amazon Web services using Edgecast technology. Liverail also handles the ad splits between the maker of the device the viewer is using and Portico.
Mr. Morgan told me there was one other thing the company did to maximize the clients it can deliver to. Whereas the majority of video providers stream exclusively in adaptive bitrate (ABR) protocols like HLS, Portico can stream using a non-ABR version of MPEG4. This is important, as virtually all CE devices have a native player that supports MPEG4. Portico streams this way to the Chrome browser as well, and I’m happy to report it worked flawlessly for me in Korea.
Why it matters
Magazines are increasingly looking to web video to help them expand their reach, and ad revenue.
Platforms like Portico TV provide a simple way for magazine to deliver to a wider audience.
Providing an cloud based cookieless DAI platform and MPEG4 streamer maximizes the number of devices a service can reach.