Headquartered in Osaka, the Asahi Television Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV) has been serving Japanese television audiences since the 1950s. ABC TV offers local and national programming along with news and sports. An important highlight of their popular sports programming is the annual Japanese National High School Baseball Championship Tournament that takes place each summer, known as Summer Koshien. This tournament is organized by the Japan High School Baseball Federation and the Asahi Shimbun Company, which was founded in 1879 and is one of Japan’s five national newspapers.
The two-week tournament has been held since 1915, and 49 teams—representing every prefecture in Japan—compete each year. Koshien is one of the most iconic sporting events in Japan, so delivering a quality livestream—and ad experience—was paramount. When preparing for the 2019 tournament, ABC TV and the Asahi Shimbun had two concrete goals in mind: To increase livestream viewership and to provide high-quality, seamless ad experiences to the anticipated 500K сoncurrent viewers.
Drawing livestream viewers with official videos and Posts on Google
To bring more viewers into the tournament on Virtual Kokoyakyu, the over-the-top (OTT) service hosting the tournament, the two companies partnered with Google to bring official video content to Search and Posts on Google. These features make it possible to create whole-page Search experiences for major cultural and national events on Google.com. To get started, the companies provided Google with the livestream URL so that a link to watch the tournament live could appear at the top of the search results. They also used Posts on Google to connect with people looking for information about the tournament on Google Search. These posts, consisting of rich text, images, and videos, generated a total of 16 million impressions during the two-week tournament.
Delivering high-quality ad experiences at scale
When it came to advertising, ABC TV and the Asahi Shimbun knew that conventional client-side ad insertion couldn’t support the vast audience they were expecting. They had tried client-side ad insertion during a previous tournament, and one percent of midroll ads failed to load during ad breaks. This is something they wanted to avoid for this tournament.
To solve their advertising challenges, the companies turned to Google Ad Manager’s Dynamic Ad Insertion technology. Unlike conventional client-side ad insertion systems, Dynamic Ad Insertion uses advanced server-side ad insertion technologies to deliver high-quality ads to millions of users at the same time, seamlessly across screens no matter where someone is watching. Dynamic Ad Insertion enables this by prefetching ads (distributing ad requests more uniformly for concurrent livestream viewers), transcoding ad creatives in advance to meet the format and delivery requirements of every user device, and then unifying the video ads and video content into a single stream in real-time.
Across live and on-demand content, Dynamic Ad Insertion supports ad insertion for mobile apps on iOS and Android, on the web (in HTML5), and on connected TV devices, including Chromecast, tvOS, Android TV, and many more. Yasuharu Ikeda, Section Chief of Content Strategy Department, General Programming Division at ABC TV explains, “We chose to use Dynamic Ad Insertion to serve ads during our livestreams as the product provides stability at scale. We were able to provide a quality user experience and absolutely no buffering—even with sudden traffic spikes during the live event.”
Knocking it out of the park with an integrated search and ads campaign
At the close of the tournament, ABC TV and the Asahi Shimbun immediately saw that their Search efforts had paid off, as over 535K livestreamers had watched and were served ads concurrently. “Google Search delivered a clear message to Japanese users that it’s possible to watch Koshien via a livestream. We could see a significant increase in traffic during the live event,” shares Dai Shimizu, Director at the Asahi Shimbun.
In addition, with Dynamic Ad Insertion all ads were served properly, without buffering and or any quality-loss issues. As a result of this concerted effort to increase viewership and improve the search and advertising experience, the companies saw a 14-percent year-over-year increase in total ad impressions.
ABC TV and the Asahi Shimbun are excited about the 2019 tournament campaign results and plan to apply what they’ve learned to future events, which will be increasingly important as more people stream sporting events from home this year. “We’ve already decided to use this feature for future tournaments, and expect to use it for personalized ads for other sports events moving forward” says Ikeda.
Learn more about Dynamic Ad Insertion.