Optimizing media content monetization remains a key focus of media organizations as they search for avenues to amplify their revenue streams. In an era marked by transformative shifts in media consumption patterns, media companies are forced to rethink the best alternatives for maximizing 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.

This article serves as an introduction to AWS Elemental MediaTailor, a robust service designed for media content providers seeking to monetize their offerings.

AWS Elemental MediaTailor Key Features

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

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

DOEXIwLAvJYpTCstIayQ4EK3ONEkJSw52eRxwMgWpGJvcvt7rL4Xbt3mN5YF0gw5ahtMLIKWVaKdTN9n2YQE7bmjks PCVR1GuDNMph 984fHDFzvq v rlQ4Kg9wg3D3JDgNwOmODi6
  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

5urUmVIdewGMt wuxstTMXnXaFsQNgFOuUOt7lWqCOHJF10R7EgN8M0Rn5DqaAnrHYPLSM0lOVdVFheqPt77SxZHL0E7Tb7wrXoW9 eBWouKiUA74Jn8kBVlG7UJ6G X6Ilo8nqWKKEZ9ezckyaIwA8

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.


AWS Elemental MediaTailor stands as an effective tool for transforming the way media content is monetized in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. It adeptly addresses the challenges and harnesses the opportunities arising from the shifts in media consumption patterns. For companies keen on harnessing the full potential of AWS Elemental MediaTailor, partnering with a recognized AWS Media & Entertainment (M&E) Partner is highly recommended to ensure a successful implementation.

About TrackIt

TrackIt is an Amazon Web Services Advanced Tier Services Partner specializing in cloud management, consulting, and software development solutions based in Marina del Rey, CA. 

TrackIt specializes in Modern Software Development, DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, Serverless, CI/CD, and Containerization with specialized expertise in Media & Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments, and data storage.

In addition to providing cloud management, consulting, and modern software development services, TrackIt also provides an open-source AWS cost management tool that allows users to optimize their costs and resources on AWS.