Links to Previous Volumes

Volume 1: AI/ML and Data Analytics

Volume 2: Broadcast & Live Remote Production

Volume 3: Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) & Streaming

Volume 4: Content Production


The monetization of media content has emerged as a key area of focus for media organizations looking for avenues to amplify revenue streams. In an era marked by transformative shifts in media consumption patterns, media companies are diligently exploring new opportunities to maximize the economic value of digital assets. The advent of streaming platforms, digital advertising, and subscription-based models has ushered in a realm of possibilities for revenue augmentation.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor

AWS Elemental MediaTailor is a robust service designed for media content providers seeking to monetize their offerings effectively. It offers several key features that enable personalized advertising and enhanced viewing experiences:

Server-side Ad Insertion (SSAI)

MediaTailor allows for server-side ad insertion, a significant advancement in the world of advertising. Instead of inserting ads during video playback on various client devices, MediaTailor enables the insertion of advertising content upstream, right before video delivery. This eliminates the need for complex and device-specific configurations. Each viewer receives a unique “manifest file” that ensures personalized ad placements, improving viewer experience. The approach minimizes buffering issues caused by format and bitrate variations during playback and makes it difficult for ad-blocking software to differentiate ads from regular content.

Media Manifest Manipulation

MediaTailor enables the assembly of linear channels using existing content. It manipulates manifest files and enables the delivery of personalized ads in a continuous stream. This ensures a seamless viewing experience without buffering interruptions between program content and ad breaks. Compatibility with standard manifest and playlist formats, such as HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), allows for widespread device and player support, making it especially advantageous for the FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) model.

Hybrid Measurement and Reporting

Accurate measurement and reporting of internet-delivered video advertising are crucial for advertisers and content providers. MediaTailor achieves the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) level of playback metrics. It does this by implementing advertising measurement and reporting through playback observation APIs on the viewer device. Additionally, it provides server-side ad metrics for devices where client-side changes are not feasible, ensuring compliance with IAB specifications.

Automatic Scaling

MediaTailor automatically scales its resources based on the number of concurrent viewers. This ensures consistent performance and quality of service regardless of fluctuations in viewership, offering a seamless experience for viewers.

Choice of Video Workflow Components

MediaTailor offers flexibility by allowing users to choose preferred vendors and solutions for components such as the content delivery network (CDN), ad decision server, and origin server. It seamlessly integrates with most standard CDNs and ad decision servers, as well as origin servers accessible over HTTP using common video streaming protocols and ad markers.

Use Independently or with AWS Media Services

As an AWS Media Service, MediaTailor can be used either as a standalone solution or integrated with other AWS services for various video-related processes. This includes live video encoding, VOD processing, just-in-time packaging, and media-optimized storage. Additionally, AWS Elemental MediaTailor works harmoniously with other AWS services such as Amazon CloudFront CDN for enhanced interoperability.

How MediaTailor Ad insertion works

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  1. A player or CDN such as Amazon CloudFront sends a request to MediaTailor for HLS or DASH content. The request contains parameters from the player with information about the viewer, which is used for ad personalization.
  2. To service the request, MediaTailor retrieves the content manifest and ad specifications.
  3. MediaTailor sends a request to the Ad Decision Server (ADS) that contains the viewer information. The ADS chooses ads based on the viewer information and current ad campaigns. It returns the ad URLs to MediaTailor in a Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) or Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP) response. MediaTailor manipulates the manifest to include ad URLs returned by the ADS, transcoded to match the encoding characteristics of the origin content. If an ad hasn’t yet been transcoded to match the content, MediaTailor will skip inserting it and use MediaConvert to prepare the ad so that it is ready for the next request.
  4. MediaTailor manipulates the manifest to include the URLs for the ads.
  5. MediaTailor returns the fully personalized manifest to the requesting CDN or player.

Solution Architecture


The diagram above shows the general architecture of a solution enabling live channel delivery via AWS Elemental MediaConnect using the SRT protocol in listener mode. 

Only one MediaConnect Flow was used in this example. However, two MediaConnect Flows can be used to implement a redundancy system.

AWS Elemental MediaLive takes one MediaConnect Flow as input (SINGLE PIPELINE). In the

scenario where redundancy is required, two MediaConnect Flows could be used for input

(STANDARD PIPELINE). The input is attached to a MediaLive channel that produces an ABR output for AWS Elemental MediaPackage. MediaPackage then packages the ABR streams to provide different types of (public and encrypted) endpoints such as:

  • HLS
  • DASH
  • CMAF
  • MSS

An API Gateway communicates with the external DRM provider and its SPEKE server. MediaTailor uses the HLS (non-encrypted) endpoint to perform ad insertion. Two CloudFront Distributions are then responsible for distributing the content to end users. The first distribution is dedicated to MediaTailor and the latter is dedicated to the endpoints created by MediaPackage. Firewall rules are also applied to the CloudFront distributions using AWS WAF.

A second API Gateway is used to manage the CMS data. It stores the metadata of the strings in an Amazon DynamoDB single table. Additionally, a queue system schedules the recording of content to produce live-to-VOD (nPVR). The system then uses the MediaPackage Harvest Job functionality to extract the content and stores it in an Amazon S3 bucket before making it available to end users.

10 Content Monetization Strategies Beyond SSAI (Server Side Ad Insertion)

1 – Interactive Content with Micropayments

Interactive content with micropayments becomes a powerful tool for user engagement and revenue generation. Media companies can create content that allows users to make small, in-app micropayments on AWS. These micropayments provide access to premium features or exclusive content segments, offering an immersive and enriched audience experience. AWS services handle transaction processing, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for both content creators and consumers.

2 – Subscription-Based Gamification 

Developing a subscription-based gamified platform on AWS is a strategy where subscribers earn virtual rewards or in-game currency. These virtual rewards can be monetized through in-app purchases or converted into real-world incentives. AWS provides a robust and secure environment for hosting gamified experiences, allowing content creators to maximize their monetization potential.

3 – Influencer Collaboration Marketplace

Building a marketplace that connects content creators with influencers allows AWS to serve as a facilitator for secure transactions, content hosting, and data analytics. This marketplace enables influencers and creators to effectively monetize their collaborations. The platform enhances collaboration opportunities and revenue generation while benefiting from AWS’s scalability and security.

4 – Virtual Merchandise and Collectibles

Launching virtual merchandise and collectibles tied to popular content is another monetization avenue. AWS manages the backend infrastructure for purchasing, trading, and showcasing these digital assets, ensuring a seamless experience for users. This approach enriches user engagement with the content and fosters secure transactions for both creators and collectors.

5 – Content Crowdfunding and Tipping

Viewers can support content creators financially through crowdfunding campaigns and tipping systems with AWS handling payment processing and tracking. AWS’s reliability ensures that financial contributions are processed securely, allowing creators to focus on content creation while building a supportive community of followers.

6 – Premium Content Bundles

Encouraging user engagement can be achieved by offering bundled packages of premium content at discounted rates. This approach motivates users to subscribe to multiple services or purchase curated selections of content. Leveraging AWS, content creators can efficiently manage and deliver these content bundles while catering to a diverse audience.

7 – Dynamic Pricing and Personalization

Implementing AWS machine learning to dynamically price content based on demand, viewer behavior, or user preferences optimizes revenue and offers personalized content experiences. AWS’s machine learning capabilities empower content providers to adapt pricing strategies in real time, enhancing both user satisfaction and monetization.

  • AWS Services: Amazon Forecast or Amazon SageMaker for dynamic pricing algorithms, Amazon Personalize for user personalization, and AWS Lambda for real-time adjustments.

8 – Pay-Per-View Events

Hosting exclusive live events, such as concerts, sporting events, or virtual meet-and-greets, is a monetization strategy that perfectly aligns with the media and entertainment sector. AWS can effectively manage the streaming infrastructure and billing processes, ensuring a seamless and secure experience for both event organizers and viewers. This approach allows media and entertainment companies to monetize unique and time-bound content offerings effectively.

9 – Content Licensing Marketplace

The creation of a marketplace where content creators can license their content to other platforms or media outlets can open up new revenue streams. AWS can ensure secure transactions and content delivery, simplifying the licensing process for both content creators and potential licensees. This marketplace could offer content creators the opportunity to expand their reach and revenue potential while benefiting from a secure and scalable environment provided by AWS.

  • AWS Services: AWS Marketplace for the storefront, AWS Elemental MediaConvert for content preparation, Amazon S3 for content storage, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for secure transactions, AWS Step Functions for orchestration, and Amazon CloudFront for content delivery.

10 – Blockchain-Based Content Ownership

Utilizing AWS to implement blockchain technology can offer a solution for verifying and securing content ownership. This technology enables content creators to sell unique digital assets, such as collectibles, and prove their authenticity. AWS’s infrastructure ensures the robustness and security necessary for blockchain-based content monetization, providing transparency and trust for creators and collectors alike.
AWS Services:Amazon Managed Blockchain for blockchain infrastructure, AWS Lambda for smart contract execution, and Amazon S3 for storing blockchain records.

Working with an AWS M&E Partner Integrator

AWS M&E partner integrators can assist in navigating the various challenges associated with the implementation and maintenance of cloud-based media workflows on AWS. 

With deep expertise in AWS, M&E partners not only offer guidance on best practices and migration strategies but also provide comprehensive managed services including monitoring, support, and optimization, allowing media companies to focus on their core business while outsourcing the technicalities of cloud management to experts.

M&E partners also play a crucial role in facilitating the relationship between AWS and end-users. Partners have extensive knowledge of AWS-based media workflows and can help clients identify funding opportunities provided by AWS. These funding programs help offset the costs associated with migrating to the cloud, making it more accessible for companies operating with stringent budgets. 

Process of Engagement

The basic process of engagement typically involves an initial consultation to understand client needs and objectives, followed by a design phase to develop a customized solution. Implementation and testing are then carried out, followed by ongoing support and maintenance to ensure that solutions remain up-to-date and effective.

CloudWise – AWS Managed Services

CloudWise, TrackIt’s AWS Managed Services offering includes a suite of services such as monitoring, optimization, and support, enabling companies to manage their AWS infrastructure with ease and efficiency. CloudWise allows customers to stay focused on their core business while TrackIt experts handle all the technicalities of cloud infrastructure management. 

Built on in-house custom monitoring software, the offering includes real-time monitoring, customized dashboards, monthly cost analysis and coverage reports, annual architecture reviews, and quarterly security assessments. Customers also benefit from 24/7/365 global support from AWS-certified TrackIt engineers working to ensure that their cloud investments are optimized to their full potential.

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Managed Services Offering Provided by AWS M&E Partner TrackIt

About TrackIt

TrackIt is an international AWS cloud consulting, systems integration, and software development firm headquartered in Marina del Rey, CA.

We have built our reputation on helping media companies architect and implement cost-effective, reliable, and scalable Media & Entertainment workflows in the cloud. These include streaming and on-demand video solutions, media asset management, and archiving, incorporating the latest AI technology to build bespoke media solutions tailored to customer requirements.

Cloud-native software development is at the foundation of what we do. We specialize in Application Modernization, Containerization, Infrastructure as Code and event-driven serverless architectures by leveraging the latest AWS services. Along with our Managed Services offerings which provide 24/7 cloud infrastructure maintenance and support, we are able to provide complete solutions for the media industry.