Apple’s latest patent application sheds “some light on what Steve Jobs could have discussed with the networks when proposing Apple’s new 99 cent content deal,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “The patent in fact points to a multiple tiered ad content system that could be set to a sliding price scale. And lastly – the patent indirectly provides us with some insight into how Apple could utilize their recently acquired Quattro Wireless ad service in the future.”
In Apple’s system, “an ad break can consist of one or more ads. The system presents a single ad at the initial ad break and two ads at each subsequent ad break. Other scenarios exist, including dynamic ad breaks with variable numbers of ads. A number of factors can influence the number of ads played in each ad break, including a fee paid by a viewer, a fee paid by an advertiser, storage capacity on the playback device, available network bandwidth, etc.,” Purcher reports. “A user can download copies of an episode [TV show] on various and diverse playback devices, such as an Apple iPod, Apple iPod Touch, Apple iPhone, Apple TV, personal computer, etc. The ad breaks for each [TV show] are in the same spot for each playback device. In one aspect, the content providers of [TV shows] dictate where ad breaks are to be shown and how many ads are in each ad break. The system includes ad break locations, ads, end-of-life information for individual ads or for the ad bundle as a whole, and other related information in an ad bundle. The system can store the ad bundle as a part of the episode asset file or as a separate file. End-of-life information is also known as expiration information. When an ad or an ad bundle expires, the system will not play the ad or the ad bundle.”
Purcher reports, “As ad breaks are viewed, a segment of the episode associated with that ad break becomes an unlocked segment… The unlocked segment can remain unlocked indefinitely, can remain unlocked for a fixed, limited duration, or can remain unlocked for an unknown, but limited duration, such as until the viewer has finished viewing the entire episode… Ad breaks can be mandatory or optional. For example, a content provider can make the first ad optional to provide incentive for the viewer to become engrossed in the show. Once this happens, he or she is more likely to view the remaining ads to unlock the rest of the show.”
Of course, “any protected content is passed through a Digital Rights Management (DRM) module [which employs] technology such as FairPlay by Apple or DVB-CPCM by the DVB Project,” Purcher reports. “When the DRM module authenticates the media and authorizes the user to view the media content, the playback engine outputs the media to a user and records information about the playback in the impression logging cache 436. The impression logging cache records information such as the identity of a viewer and identity of media viewed, when the content was viewed, how many times the content was viewed, etc.”
Other aspects of Apple’s patent application detail how, for example, “ads sent to a teenager’s iPod can be completely different from the ads sent to an adult’s iPod, even if they are both downloading the same episode,” Purcher reports. “A user can pay to view an episode completely ad-free or could pay to remove a certain number or percentage of ads in a tiered system. Multiple tiers or levels of ad content can be provided on a sliding price scale. The system is expandable for future ad presentation models consistent with the principles described [in the patent application].”
There’s tons more information, including multiple patent application illustrations, in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Note: In a nutshell: The more you pay for a show, the fewer ads you’ll see.