How Penthera Could Measure Viewing On Offline Mobile Devices

While more distributors are beginning to offer subscribers the ability to download TV shows and movies to mobile devices for offline viewing, it’s not easy to track how many viewers consume programming and advertising when devices aren’t connected to a WiFi or cellular network.

Pittsburgh-based technology vendor Penthera detailed its solution to that problem in a patent application published Thursday. In addition to inserting personalized advertising in TV shows that a subscriber downloads for viewing while on an airplane or other areas where they may not have access to a broadband Internet connection, the system would insert tracking beacons that could be used to deliver viewing information to the distributor the next time the viewer connects a smartphone, tablet or laptop to the Internet.

Adam Berger
Adam Berger

Penthera CTO Adam Berger is named as lead inventor on the patent application, titled, “Downloading videos with commercials to mobile devices.”

Abstract: Among other things, a video is downloaded to a mobile device. The video includes a TV show and commercials embedded within the TV show. The video is stored persistently on the mobile device. At least part of the video is played on the mobile device while the device is offline. Metadata is stored on the mobile device that indicates an expiry applicable to at least one of the commercials embedded in the video. The mobile device performs an action at a time related to the expiry.

Patent Application

Related article:
Penthera Scores Cache & Carry Patent

Claims:

1. A method comprising downloading to a mobile device a video that includes a TV show and commercials embedded within the TV show, storing the video persistently on the mobile device, playing at least part of the video on the mobile device while the device is offline, storing on the mobile device metadata that indicates an expiry for the video, and the mobile device performing an action at a time related to the expiry.

2. The method of claim 1 in which the action is performed at a time when the mobile device is offline.

3. The method of claim 1 in which the action comprises refraining from playing out the downloaded video.

4. The method of claim 1 in which the action comprises deleting the downloaded video.

5. The method of claim 1 in which the video comprises one or more playlist files and one or more segments, and the playlist files and the segments are stored persistently on the mobile device.

6. The method of claim 1 in which the expiry of the video is expressed as a date.

7. The method of claim 1 in which the expiry of the video is expressed as an amount of time following an earlier fixed date and time.

8. The method of claim 4 in which the mobile device downloads fewer than all of the segments.

9. The method of claim 8 in which the mobile device can play the downloaded segments while the device is offline.

10. The method of claim 1 in which at least part of the downloading occurs only when the mobile device is connected to a WiFi network and when the mobile device is being powered by an external source or has at least a certain battery charge or both.

11. The method of claim 1 comprising downloading another version of the video that includes the same TV show and at least one different commercial embedded within the TV show, the other version of the video having an expiry later than an expiry of the original version of the TV show, and playing the other version of the video after the expiry of the original version of the video.

12. The method of claim 11 in which the other version of the video is downloaded concurrently with the first version.

13. The method of claim 11 in which the other version of the video is downloaded after the downloading of the first version.

14. The method of claim 11 in which the mobile device indicates to a remote server that the second video should contain longer-lived commercials.

15. A method comprising downloading to a mobile device a first version of a video that includes a TV show and commercials embedded within the TV show, storing the first version of the video persistently on the mobile device, playing at least part of the video on the mobile device while the device is offline, storing on the mobile device metadata that indicates an expiry for the first version of the video, before, during, or after downloading the first version of the video, the mobile device downloading a second version of the video containing the same TV show and at least one embedded commercial that is different from any of the commercials embedded in the first version of the video, the second version of the video having an expiry that is later than the expiry of the first version of the video, and an app on the mobile device performing an action at a time related to the expiry date of the first version of the video.

16. The method of claim 15 in which the action comprises playing the second version of the video.

17. The method of claim 15 in which the action comprises playing the second version of the video on or after the expiry of the first version of the video.

18. The method of claim 15 in which at least some of the commercials of the first version of the video have higher value than at least some of the commercials of the second version of the video.

19. A method comprising downloading to a mobile device one or more commercials, storing the commercials persistently on the mobile device, stitching one or more of the downloaded commercials into a previously-downloaded video that includes embedded commercials at least one of which has expired, the stitching being done at places in the downloaded video that are identified based on metadata downloaded separately from the downloading of the video, and playing the video and the stitched in commercials while the device is offline.

20. The method of claim 19 comprising, at the mobile device, recording, for at least one of the commercials, a number of times the commercial is played.

21. The method of claim 20 comprising reporting the recorded number to a server when the device is not offline.

22. The method of claim 19 comprising the mobile device limiting a number of times a stored commercial is stitched into the previously-downloaded video.

23. The method of claim 19 in which the previously-downloaded video is segmented.

24. The method of claim 23 in which the stitching comprises replacing entries in the manifest for the video, the entries corresponding to the original commercials.

25. The method of claim 23 in which the replacement commercials are segmented.

26. The method of claim 23 in which the replacement commercials are not segmented.

27. The method of claim 8 in which the mobile device downloads multiple segments concurrently.