Xtreme fuels expansion with open source-based video recording

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Xtreme fuels expansion with open source-based video recording

Advertising intelligence company Xtreme Information plans to drop Ubuntu-based DVRs in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane to expand the reach of its monitoring.

The company’s services are used by businesses to spy on a competitor’s advertising, check if the concept for an advertisement has been done before, or make sure that a TV channel, for example, is running advertisements in the paid-for break slot positions.

It currently monitors advertising on nine TV stations in Sydney and Melbourne, using digital video recorders running on Ubuntu and proprietary recognition software developed in Germany.

The software creates a unique audio and video pattern that enables the DVR to recognise a TV advertisement from a stream of programming.

“We create a pattern for each advertisement and then we can recognise the ad based on that pattern,” Jeroen de Leeuw den Bouter, Xtreme Information’s IT manager, told iTNews.

The DVRs contain between 1.5 and 2 TB of storage space, and retain around seven days of rolling content for harvesting.

The TV advertisements are automatically cut from the stream by the software and stored in a Sybase 12 database that runs on RedHat. They surface via a .NET based front-end where clients can view advertisements using Flash, realplayer or Windows Media Player.

Xtreme also collects other advertisements. It uses a spider to crawl the top 100 local websites at least five times per day to collect Internet advertisements, while print advertisements are scanned into the system manually.

De Leeuw den Bouter claimed that by placing DVRs in hosted sites in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, the company would be able to effectively cover ’95 percent of the market’.

The company has no immediate plans to expand beyond this reach to regional cities and towns, although there was some demand from its client base for this level of monitoring service.

“[The challenge] in Australia is there’s 64 regions where TV [content] is the same but the advertisements are different,” he said.

This contrasted to Xtreme’s headquarters in London, where the company monitors over 200 European channels from a single location.

Xtreme Information operates a mixed Windows and Linux-based server environment. It has six racks with ‘at least’ 30 physical servers, as well as 8TB of storage.

De Leeuw den Bouter said Xtreme had not considered virtualising the environment.

“It’s cheaper to just boy another 1U box than a blade server,” he said. “If the price of blade servers comes down then of course it’s an option.”
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