Can Server Side Ads Enhance the Viewer Experience?

Can Server Side Ads Enhance the Viewer Experience?

In recent years, numerous streaming video publishers have shifted from client-side ad insertion to server-side ad insertion (SSAI). SSAI seamlessly integrates ad creatives into the video stream, maintaining playback quality similar to the video segments. The primary aim is to enhance the viewer’s experience, aligning ad breaks in streaming videos more closely with traditional TV ad breaks. Secondary goals include simplifying video player development by eliminating the need for ad SDKs and minimizing ad losses due to ad blockers.

However, does SSAI technology genuinely enhance the viewer experience?

To validate this expectation, a comparison of quality of experience data for server-side versus client-side ads is necessary.

Thudo Multimedia conducted an analysis of 3.3 billion on-demand video streams across desktop, Roku, and Android Fire TV players in June and July 2023.

Firstly, video completion rates and startup times were compared between client-side and server-side ads. It was discovered that content completion rates are 5% to 10% higher for videos with server-side ads, despite a 1 to 2-second delay in video startup times. This suggests that SSAI systems introduce additional latency, which might lead to viewers dropping off while waiting for the video to start. However, once the viewer begins playing a video, they are more likely to watch it to completion.

Secondly, the study aimed to determine whether dynamic ad insertion in SSAI systems increased video startup times. By comparing startup times on SSAI video streams with no dynamically inserted ads to those with ads, it was observed that video streams with no ads had a one-second shorter startup time and resulted in 2% to 5% higher video completion rates than those with ads.

Furthermore, ad creative buffering and average bit rates were compared between client-side and SSAI streams, revealing that these metrics were comparable, with differences primarily linked to variations in video player and platform rather than the use of SSAI.

SSAI: Elegant solution for ad insertion
SSAI: Elegant solution for ad insertion

In conclusion, while SSAI ads undeniably contribute to a better viewer experience once a viewer starts watching, they may potentially cause more viewers to drop off before the video begins. Recommendations for publishers transitioning to SSAI include collaborating with SSAI vendors to improve video startup times when inserting ads, enhancing the video app experience by combining client-side and server-side ads, and carefully balancing video streams with and without ads based on viewer segments. Utilizing Thudo Multimedia for stream monitoring allows for identification of areas for improvement and the implementation of strategies to optimize the move to SSAI.

See more: Why should businesses care about media copyright?

DRM Prevent Unauthorized Access to Digital Content?

DRM Prevent Unauthorized Access to Digital Content?

DRM Prevents Unauthorized Access to digital content by employing encryption and access controls, ensuring content security.

DRM serves as the frontline defense in an era where digital content consumption has become ubiquitous, playing a crucial role in safeguarding digital assets from unauthorized entry and distribution.
In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the intricate mechanics of DRM and its multifaceted strategies for thwarting unauthorized access to digital content.

What is DRM?

Digital Rights Management, commonly known as DRM, represents a multifaceted approach to securing digital content. It comprises a set of technologies and strategies aimed at controlling and managing how digital content is accessed, used, and distributed. DRM solutions encompass a wide array of tools, from encryption methods and access controls to licensing mechanisms, all serving the overarching goal of safeguarding digital assets.

How Does DRM Prevent Unauthorized Access?

At its core, DRM relies on encryption to protect digital content. Encryption transforms the content into an unreadable format, rendering it useless without the corresponding decryption key. To access and utilize the content, authorized users must possess the correct decryption key, which is typically provided through legitimate channels, such as purchasing, renting, or subscribing to the content.

Preventing Unauthorized Access

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How Does DRM Prevent Unauthorized Access?

Encryption: The Fortified Barrier

Encryption serves as the bedrock of DRM’s security infrastructure. By converting digital content into an encrypted format, it becomes impervious to unauthorized access. Even if an unauthorized user gains access to the encrypted file, they remain unable to view, listen to, or employ the content in any meaningful way without the requisite decryption key. This robust encryption-based defense ensures the content’s integrity and confidentiality.

License Management: Controlling Access

DRM systems often hinge on licensing to govern content access. Users must acquire a valid license to access and interact with the content. These licenses dictate the terms and conditions of use, encompassing details such as the duration of access, the number of devices it can be accessed on, and more. Through license management, DRM can enforce these rules and restrictions effectively.

Access Controls: Restricting Unauthorized Sharing

DRM technology incorporates access controls that restrict the number of devices or users who can access the content concurrently. This limitation acts as a powerful deterrent against mass distribution of content to unauthorized audiences. Furthermore, DRM can impose restrictions on actions like copying, sharing, or exporting content, further minimizing unauthorized access.

Why DRM is Essential for Digital Content?

For content creators and copyright holders, DRM is an indispensable tool for safeguarding their intellectual property. Without the protective shield of DRM, digital content becomes vulnerable to piracy and unauthorized distribution, posing substantial revenue losses and jeopardizing the content’s integrity.

Enabling New Revenue Models

DRM empowers content providers to explore diverse revenue models, including pay-per-view, rentals, and subscription-based services. These models hinge on secure access controls facilitated by DRM, guaranteeing that users pay for the content they consume and enabling sustainable revenue streams.

Ensuring Content Availability

The assurance of content protection offered by DRM encourages content creators to make their work available in digital formats. This, in turn, broadens the range of digital content accessible to consumers, fostering a rich and diverse digital ecosystem.

In conclusion, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a pivotal force in the relentless battle against unauthorized access to digital content. Through encryption, license management, and access controls, DRM provides content creators and providers with a multifaceted arsenal to protect their intellectual property and cultivate sustainable revenue models.

Despite the challenges and criticisms it faces, DRM continues to evolve in response to the ever-changing digital landscape. It remains an essential and irreplaceable tool for safeguarding digital assets and ensuring that content creators can reap the benefits of their creations while offering consumers a secure and diverse array of digital content.

The Nemesis of Nearly 1,000 Pirate Football Streaming

The Nemesis of Nearly 1,000 Pirate Football Streaming

Approximately 1,000 copyright-infringing football websites have been blocked within a year, but the issue persists, according to the Radio, Television, and Electronic Information Department.

During a copyright protection seminar for the music, film, and digital television industry on September 26th in Hanoi, Mr. Pham Hoang Hai, Director of the Center for Digital Content Copyright, Radio, Television, and Electronic Information Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, stated that copyright violations are becoming increasingly complex, encompassing football, films, and more recently, Japanese anime content.

In the field of football alone, there are approximately 70 pirate websites, with 5 leading groups like “xoilac” and “cakhia,” each with various website addresses. During the 2022-2023 season, these groups’ websites reached 7.7 million users and 1.5 billion views according to Similarweb statistics. Pirate films have over 200 websites, attracting 120 million monthly views.

According to Mr. Hai, these websites commonly use international domains and hide their information. In addition to streaming content, they display harmful advertisements and engage in gambling. When blocked, these websites frequently change domain names. Between August 2022 and August 2023, Vietnamese authorities blocked nearly 1,000 pirate football websites.

A pirate streaming site broadcasting matches from the 2022 World Cup, accompanied by advertisements for gambling games. Photo: Lưu Quý
A pirate streaming site broadcasting matches from the 2022 World Cup, accompanied by advertisements for gambling games.
Photo: Luu Quy

One pirate streaming site showed World Cup 2022 matches along with gambling advertisements. At the seminar, Ms. Pham Thanh Thuy, in charge of copyright enforcement for K+ television, cited data from Media Partners Asia indicating that Vietnam is among the top three countries in the region with the highest number of copyright violations, with 15.5 million regular users accessing pirate websites. When adjusted for population, Vietnam leads Southeast Asia in this regard. Ms. Thuy noted that copyright violations used to occur on TV boxes with pre-installed pirate viewing applications, but now the majority occur on digital platforms like websites and social media.

Mr. Nguyễn Ngọc Hân shares about the Sigma Active Observer (SAO) solution, which integrates AI in digital copyright protection.
Mr. Nguyễn Ngọc Hân shares about the Sigma Active Observer (SAO) solution, which integrates AI in digital copyright protection.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Han, CEO of Thudomultimedia, pointed out that as social media and OTT platforms develop, protecting copyrights becomes more challenging, as approximately 80% of violations take place on digital platforms. Pirate groups may be based in Vietnam but use VPN software to disguise their location and provide content to Vietnamese users, affecting the revenue and reputation of locally licensed services. It is estimated that copyright infringement cost Vietnam around $350 million in damages in 2022.

To combat these issues, the Center for Digital Content Copyright is working with Vietnamese internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to pirated websites. This approach has resulted in a 98% reduction in visits to pirate football websites during the past season. Additionally, it has influenced user behavior. According to a CAP survey, 23% of users indicated they would not access similar content if it was blocked, and 60% sought legitimate free alternatives.

However, Mr. Hai noted that there is still inconsistency among ISPs regarding the enforcement of blocking measures. Some ISPs block immediately, while others take up to three days, which can undermine the effectiveness of the effort.

Ms. Thuy mentioned that various technical and legal measures have been applied but continue to face challenges. For instance, when filing complaints about violations with the administrative authorities, they require evidence and proof of damages. Many cases, such as the Phimmoi website, take years to resolve.

One proposed solution by Ms. Thuy is “Knock and Talk,” a successful approach in other countries. In this method, a professional investigative team identifies all contacts to obtain information about the website owner and subsequently approaches them to request a commitment to stop copyright infringement. According to Ms. Thuy, this approach could yield long-term effectiveness and take a few months to process.

In early September, the Ministry of Information and Communications announced plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Public Security to address the issue of pirated content websites and stated that they would not limit themselves to administrative penalties. Furthermore, they suggested that the issue could also be resolved through user behavior, as support for pirate websites ultimately harms content copyright businesses, making it difficult for them to obtain licenses and develop content. In such cases, consumers would ultimately bear the brunt of the consequences.

How pirates make most of their money from advertising

How pirates make most of their money from advertising

The world of digital piracy is often portrayed as a shadowy realm, rife with illegal activities and ethical quandaries. While it’s true that piracy is primarily associated with copyright infringement, the financial landscape of pirates is more complex than one might expect. Contrary to the popular notion that pirates make most of their money through advertising, the primary revenue streams of digital pirates are rooted in the distribution and monetization of pirated content, such as movies, music, software, and other copyrighted materials. Advertising, while still a factor, is not their main source of income. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the multifaceted world of digital piracy and uncover the various ways pirates generate revenue.

Direct Sales

One of the most straightforward and traditional methods through which pirates make money is through direct sales of pirated content. This includes the distribution of physical copies, such as counterfeit DVDs or Blu-rays. Pirates often produce high-quality copies of popular movies and sell them at a fraction of the price of legitimate copies. These illicit DVDs can be found in some brick-and-mortar stores, street markets, or online marketplaces. They attract consumers looking for a budget-friendly alternative to official releases.

In addition to physical copies, pirates may offer USB drives or hard drives containing extensive collections of copyrighted content. These drives are particularly popular among those seeking a vast library of movies, music, or software without the hassle of downloading individual files. Customers purchase these drives, and pirates make a profit based on the sale of these unauthorized copies.

While direct sales are a significant source of income for some pirates, it’s important to note that this method is illegal and can lead to severe legal consequences. Law enforcement agencies and copyright holders actively combat the distribution of counterfeit physical media.

Subscription Services

The digital age has given rise to subscription-based models for content consumption, both in legitimate and pirate spheres. Some piracy platforms operate on a subscription model, where users pay a recurring fee to access a vast library of pirated content. These platforms mimic the user experience of legitimate streaming services like Netflix or Spotify but offer copyrighted content without the necessary licensing agreements.

The revenue generated from these subscriptions serves as a primary source of income for these pirate platforms. While subscription-based piracy services may generate substantial revenue, it’s essential to recognize that this income is also rooted in copyright infringement and is subject to legal action.

Donations and Crowdfunding

Some piracy websites and groups rely on the support of their users to sustain their operations. These users appreciate the services provided by the pirates and, in turn, make voluntary donations. These donations can take various forms, such as one-time contributions or recurring payments. Pirates may also engage in crowdfunding campaigns to fund their infrastructure and expand their reach.

Crowdfunding platforms offer an avenue for pirates to seek financial support from a global audience. Some users may be willing to contribute to the cause for reasons ranging from a desire to access pirated content to a belief in the principles of open access. The funds collected from these campaigns help pirates maintain their websites, servers, and other essential components of their operations.

File Hosting Services

File hosting services provide another dimension to the revenue generation strategies of pirates. These services allow users to upload and share files, including copyrighted content. Pirates exploit this opportunity by offering premium accounts on these hosting platforms. Premium users enjoy benefits such as faster download speeds, larger storage space, and an ad-free experience.

Pirates receive income from the sale of these premium accounts. As users flock to their services for convenient access to copyrighted material, they are willing to pay for enhanced features. In essence, pirates act as intermediaries between the hosting service and the users, capturing a share of the revenue generated from premium subscriptions.

Affiliate Marketing

In addition to the aforementioned methods, pirates may engage in affiliate marketing programs as a secondary source of income. Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services related to the pirated content and earning commissions for each successful referral. Pirates leverage their large user bases to drive traffic to e-commerce platforms, digital services, or products that align with the interests of their audience.

For example, a piracy website focused on movies might use affiliate links to direct users to streaming services, online marketplaces selling movie-related merchandise, or VPN services for anonymous browsing. Pirates earn commissions for each sale or action resulting from these referrals.

It’s crucial to emphasize that while affiliate marketing can generate income for pirates, it operates in a legal gray area. Many legitimate advertising networks and affiliate programs have strict policies against partnering with piracy websites. Additionally, the use of affiliate marketing on such platforms raises ethical concerns about profiting from illegal activities.

Malware and Scams

Regrettably, some pirates resort to more nefarious means to generate revenue. This includes the distribution of malware, fake software, and various scams. These illicit practices can pose significant risks to users and their devices.

Pirates may use advertising as a means to lure unsuspecting users into downloading malicious content or clicking on fraudulent links. For instance, a piracy website might display deceptive advertisements promising access to exclusive content or free software downloads. When users click on these ads, they unwittingly expose themselves to malware, identity theft, or financial fraud.

While this approach can be lucrative for the pirates involved, it not only damages the user experience but also further tarnishes the reputation of piracy in general.

Advertising in Piracy

Although advertising is not the primary source of income for pirates, it remains a noteworthy component of their revenue model. Piracy websites and platforms often display ads as a means to generate additional income. These ads may come in various forms, such as banner ads, pop-ups, or video ads. Advertisers pay pirates to display these advertisements to their large user bases, often targeting specific demographics or interests.

The revenue from advertising largely depends on factors like website traffic, user engagement, and the attractiveness of the audience to advertisers. Pirates use ad networks and exchanges to facilitate the placement of ads on their websites, similar to legitimate websites. These networks connect pirates with advertisers looking to promote their products or services.

The advertising income can be substantial for piracy websites with high volumes of traffic. However, there are several key considerations:

  1. Quality of Ads: The types of advertisements displayed on piracy websites are often of lower quality and may include deceptive or harmful content. Users are frequently bombarded with pop-up ads, making for a frustrating browsing experience.
  2. User Experience: Excessive advertising can diminish the user experience and erode trust in the quality of pirated content. Users might become frustrated with intrusive ads and turn to alternative sources for their digital piracy needs.
  3. Advertiser Concerns: Some legitimate advertisers are hesitant to associate their brands with piracy, as it can damage their reputation and expose them to legal risks. As a result, many advertising networks and brands refuse to work with piracy websites.
  4. Legal Implications: Hosting or displaying advertisements on a piracy platform can draw the attention of copyright holders and law enforcement agencies. In some cases, they may target advertisers and ad networks involved in these partnerships.

It’s essential to understand that the advertising revenue generated by piracy websites does not legitimize or justify their activities. Piracy is illegal and unethical, as it infringes upon copyright laws and negatively impacts content creators and industries that rely on intellectual property rights.


While the notion of pirates making most of their money from advertising is a common misconception, the reality is far more nuanced. Digital pirates generate revenue primarily through the distribution and monetization of copyrighted content, with various income streams ranging

Removing DRM costs music labels hundreds of millions

Removing DRM costs music labels hundreds of millions

In 2009, major record labels decided to remove DRM from music on iTunes. Over a decade has passed since then, and now the issue has resurfaced in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Internet service provider RCN plans to use it as a defense, while the record labels argue that the DRM issue is outdated and no longer relevant.

Towards the end of the 2000s, music fans celebrated the news that record labels and Apple had agreed to eliminate DRM from music files downloaded through iTunes.

The music industry initially implemented various measures to protect music files from unauthorized copying, but even legitimate customers were uncomfortable with these methods.

The removal of DRM was seen as a breakthrough by DRM opponents and a significant step forward in the music industry. However, more than a decade after iTunes removed DRM, this issue is being reexamined in a complex copyright infringement case.

Record labels clash with RCN

Three years ago, several record labels, including Arista Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, and Warner Records, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Internet service provider RCN. The music companies accused RCN of taking no action against users of its service who were continuously infringing copyright.

These are just a few of the copyright infringement lawsuits currently taking place. These lawsuits are not insignificant, as they involve hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Therefore, RCN is seeking any possible means of defense.

After unsuccessful efforts, the Internet service provider is looking for other options to protect itself.

To do this, the company wants to learn more about the decision to remove DRM from downloaded files on iTunes. Specifically, the company is questioning music companies when seeking information related to the decision to eliminate DRM.

“Identify all those involved in the decision to remove DRM from music files sold through the iTunes store,” the request states.