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Video streaming sites like YouTube are experimenting with server-side ad insertion

Server-side ad insertion differs from normal YouTube ad insertion techniques primarily in how ads are delivered to viewers. In traditional methods, ads are served separately from the video content, allowing ad blockers to intercept and block them. However, with server-side ad injection, the ad becomes part of the video stream itself, making it indistinguishable from the content. This means that ad blockers are less effective because they can't differentiate between ads and the actual video Link

So we know what this means for traditional ad blockers. But what about video converters and downloaded that "grabs" the video stream and converts it into an mp4 video format for example? Will it be embedded inside the video file or can it be filtered from the stream?

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  • I would imagine so. The ad is part of the video stream. Commented Jul 11 at 0:41
  • But what's the point if the advertiser links are part of the compressed video aren't clickable ? Just static graphics. There has to be some new format Commented Jul 11 at 0:45
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    TV ads have been running for years without links, and companies made good money from that. What good is a link if it gets blocked? Sometimes you just need exposure, and that's one of the goals of a good advertising campaign. Commented Jul 11 at 0:47
  • So I'm guessing those without an "ad-blocker" would be able to navigate to the advertiser's link or resource where's those with the "ad-blocker" or content "grabber" will just see a static graphic and sound as part of the raw video? Which could potentially be removed by manually editing the video (until an AI could flag the points)? Commented Jul 11 at 3:23

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If the ad becomes part of the video file which you extract then no, it will not be distinguishable as a separate part.

But that is only part of the story, when you process the video file it might be able to auto-detect the advertisement parts and remove them. In many cases the video part of the video looks strongly different from the ad part.

It might be easily detectable and removable by matching color grading, lighting and other parts. AI tools will likely have a role here by auto-detecting ads and video parts.

Technically if the timings from the ads are detecting are simply removable by tools like FFMPEG and other video editing tools which are programmable. See for example this question:

https://superuser.com/questions/138331/using-ffmpeg-to-cut-up-video

So yes, it will make things more difficult but no not impossible. It will take a bigger investment to get it done more properly.

An example tool to do it manually is here: https://videoconverter.wondershare.com/movies/how-to-remove-ads-from-movies.html for example with some screenshots to show the manual process.

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can it be filtered from the stream?

If that were the case, how would it be "resolving" the issue of adblockers being able to filter out ads?

This is explicitly explained in the text you referenced:

In traditional methods, ads are served separately from the video content, allowing ad blockers to intercept and block them. However, with server-side ad injection, the ad becomes part of the video stream itself, making it indistinguishable from the content.

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  • They could use the same ad format but put an extra layer of decryption on the video stream to unpcack the content to bypass ad blockers (which would be broken again in a matter of time) Commented Jul 11 at 3:27
  • @dazzleworth The issue here isn't one of content decryption. "indistinguishable from the content" is pretty clear and answers your concrete question. Guessing for other ways it could have been done is off-topic for the Q&A format.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 11 at 3:40
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The concept is really easy to understand as YouTubers have been doing this for quite a while. When a YouTuber is sponsored by a company (like the LTT segue ads), they would film the ad as part of the video and embed the ad in the actual video file they would upload to YouTube.

YouTube is basically doing the same thing. This is a gross oversimplification but they would take a YouTube's video file, edit the raw video file and append the ad into it, save the raw video file and send you the whole thing.

Is it possible to circumvent? Yeah, as with anything it is possible. However, it would be on the orders of magnitude harder to do it as reliably as we have come to expect adblocks to be. I expect a lot of false positives.

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anon_user123456 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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  • I've actually seen them casually mentioning the sponsor as part of their video presentation and encourage viewers to "check them out". In any case the number of sponsors rarely exceeds 1. They dont actually embed an ad into it. I guess that's acceptable with small startups beingsponsors but it is certainly not acceptable to th big boys. YouTube ads obviously targets those with a big budget and advertisers with their own content which may not jell with the video. Many advertisers have same standard with their TV ads and may ruin the YouTubers videos Commented yesterday

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