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What is a bitrate & where do I find it in my CTV OTT creative?

A comprehensive guide to video bitrate for your CTV creative: what it is, why it’s so important for video quality, and how to export your media with CTV-quality bitrate.

Recently, we’ve heard a lot of confusion about video bitrate… What is it? Why does it matter? Why can it be such a struggle to export a satisfactory bitrate? In this article, we’ll focus on these questions and how they relate specifically to video bitrate. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the entire creative file (dimensions, frame rate, high-quality assets, etc.) contributes to  the bitrate as well. If you’re curious about the larger picture, check out our guide on How to set-up and export your Connected TV (CTV/OTT) creative.


What is video bitrate?

Director and Filmmaker Mike Leonard defines bitrate as “depth of information… often measured as the amount of information per second.” A high bitrate is one of the most critical characteristics of high quality video. When combined with high resolution and correct frame rate, bitrate over 18,000 kbps will ensure your CTV/OTT commercial not only looks great, but also qualifies for the widest range of premium placements.

Why is having a high bitrate so important for Connected TV?

Videos in general include much more data than image assets, as indicated by the file size. In order to reach your audience with ads that fit in alongside the living-room quality content often delivered on Advertising-Based Video On Demand (AVOD) apps, publishers often require the bitrate of the ad creative to complement the content entrée.

Customizing your creative for each publisher partner based on their unique requirements is outdated. Modern technologies like VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) tags can hold many versions of your creative file so that when the perfect placement comes along, the right file may be served. When you upload an .mp4 file to TriAD’s server, we generate VAST tags on your behalf. And bitrate is like a water slide: easy to go down, but dangerous to go up. So long as the file we receive clears the minimum bitrate requirement for all participating publishers, which is currently 18,000 kbps, you can rest assured that bitrate isn’t causing you to lose out on placements.

How to find your video bitrate

Where to find a video’s bitrate using a Mac OS desktop/laptop

1. Find the video in your ‘Finder’ app
2. To open the file in QuickTime… simply double-click the file or (if QuickTime is not your default video viewer) right-click the file and go to Open With >> QuickTime…
3. Once the video is open in QuickTime… click Command+I to open the QuickTime Inspector
4. Find ‘Data Rate’ under ‘Video Details’

NOTE: We generally talk about bitrate in terms of kbps but QuickTime measures bitrate in Mbit/s. So instead of 18,000-30,000 kbps, you’ll want to aim for that QuickTime data rate to fall in the 18-30 Mbit/s range.

Where to find a video’s bitrate using a Windows desktop/laptop

1. Navigate to the file in File Explorer… Right-click the file
2. Select Properties and go to the Details tab of the Properties window
3. Total Bitrate will be in the second section, which has the “Video” heading

How to increase or decrease the bitrate for your CTV creative

In order to best serve your CTV creative, we recommend a bitrate of 18,000-30,000 kbps (or 18-30 Mbit/s). If you need to increase or decrease your bitrate, we recommend importing your creative to Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere Pro and exporting via Adobe Media Encoder.


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