Collecting media data is critical for tracking user behavior when your customers consume video or audio content through Android and iOS mobile applications or on the web. mParticle provides a toolset for integrating media analytics into your customer experience.

The mParticle Media SDK provides a dedicated API for tracking common media events including session start/end, play, pause, and other milestones, as well as logging recurring advertising impressions and chapters for segmented content.

The mParticle Media SDK works hand in hand with the mParticle platform. Data logged from the Media SDK is forwarded to the Apple SDK and then forwarded to any included integrations.

The mParticle Media SDK is compatible with Adobe Analytics for Media, supporting the full range of media-related events including heartbeat events. This simplifies an otherwise complicated and error-prone process of setting up media session event tracking and Adobe Heartbeat yourself.

Getting Started

Add the SDK

Before you can begin using the Media SDK, you need to have a working instance of the mParticle core SDK. Please see the core SDK getting started section for more details.


To integrate the SDK using CocoaPods, specify it in your Podfile:

target '<Your Target>' do
    pod 'mParticle-Apple-SDK', '~> 8.0'
    pod 'mParticle-Apple-Media-SDK', '~> 1.0'


To integrate the SDK using Carthage, specify it in your Cartfile:

github "mparticle/mparticle-apple-sdk" ~> 8.0
github "mparticle/mparticle-apple-media-sdk" ~> 1.0

Swift Package Manager

To integrate the SDK using Swift Package Manager, open your Xcode project and navigate to File > Swift Packages > Add Package Dependency

Enter the repository URL and click Next.

You can leave the version settings as default and click Next one more time to complete adding the package dependency.

Creating an instance of a Media Session

The Apple iOS Media SDK provides a MPMediaSession object. Each MPMediaSession object represents a single end to end media experience and relates one-to-one to a piece of content. For example, if a customer is watching a video, pausing, seeking and scrubbing, that is considered a single session. If they stop the video, and play another piece of content, that is a new session.

let mediaSession = MPMediaSession.init(
    coreSDK:  MParticle.sharedInstance(), // mParticle SDK Instance
    mediaContentId: '1234567',            // Custom media ID, added as content_id for media events
    title: 'Funny internet cat video',    // Custom media Title, added as content_title for media events
    duration: 120000,                     // Duration in milliseconds, added as content_duration for media events
    contentType: .video,                  // Content Type (Video or Audio), added as content_type for media events
    streamType: .onDemand                 // Stream Type (OnDemand, Live, etc.), added as stream_type for media events

You can access the source code and contribute to the mParticle Media SDK Github repo here.

Summary Events

Summary events are automated events that contain an accumulated record of what occured during a session, individual segments, and individual ads.

Session Summary Events

A Session Summary event tracks from when a MPMediaSession is initialized to when it’s de-initialized or when logMediaSessionEnd is called. The more accurate and detailed developers are with logPlay, logPause, logAdStart, and other media events, the more accurate the summary data will be.

The following table explains the different parts of the Session Summary event.

Session Summary Keys Description
“media_session_id” A unique identifier automatically created for each session
“content_id” A unique identifier that can set by the user when initializing a session
“content_title” The title of the content. Can be set by the user when initializing a session
“media_session_start_time” Timestamp created on logMediaSessionStart event
“media_session_end_time” Timestamp of most recent valid event
“media_time_spent” Total seconds user spent on this session
“media_content_time_spent” The total seconds user spent playing content
“media_content_complete” True if logMediaContentEnd was called or if user progressed past percentage set in MPMediaSession.mediaContentCompleteLimit
“media_session_segment_total” The number of segments progressed into by the user
“media_total_ad_time_spent” The total seconds that ads played during this session
“media_ad_time_spent_rate” The parcentage of playback time that was ad content
“media_session_ad_total” The number of ads played in the media session
“media_session_ad_objects” An array of unique identifiers for ads played during this media session

Segment Summary Events

A Segment Summary event tracks from when logSegmentStart is called to when either logSegmentSkip or logSegmentEnd is called. Segments could be the chapters of an audiobook or scenes in a movie.

The following table explains the different parts of the Segment Summary event.

Segment Summary Keys Description
“media_session_id” A unique identifier automatically created for each session
“content_id” A unique identifier that can set by the user when initializing a session
“segment_title” The title of the segment
“segment_index” The index of the segment
“segment_start_time” Timestamp created on logSegmentStart event
“segment_end_time” Timestamp of most recent valid event in segment
“media_segment_time_spent” Total seconds user spent on this segment
“segment_completed” True if logSegmentEnd was called to end the segment
“segment_skipped” True if logSegmentSkip was called to end the segment

Ad Summary Events

An Ad Summary event tracks from when logAdStart is called to when either logAdSkip or logAdEnd is called.

The following table explains the different parts of the Ad Summary event.

Ad Summary Keys Description
“media_session_id” A unique identifier automatically created for each session
“ad_break_id” A unique identifier that can set by the user when initializing an ad break
“ad_content_id” A unique identifier that can set by the user when initializing an ad
“ad_content_title” The title of the ad
“ad_content_start_time” Timestamp created on logAdStart event
“ad_content_end_time” Timestamp of most recent valid event in segment
“ad_completed” True if logAdEnd was called to end the segment.
“ad_skipped” True if logAdSkip was called to end the segment.

Logging media events

Once your session is instantiated, you will need to trigger a SessionStart. This should be done at the moment the user interacts with your content. For example, if the media is set to trigger on a user click, and your player fires a play event when the content starts, the session must begin before the play event.

  1. Start a session
  1. Log a play event
  1. (optional) Fire other events for user interaction, i.e. pause
  1. End the Media Content once the content is complete
  1. End the Media Session once the user interaction is over (such as after a post-roll or if the app is terminated)

Logging Advertising

In most cases, advertising comes in as a series of Ad Breaks each containing numerous Ads. The Media SDK provides both sets of functionality so that you can track this behavior.

  1. Fire an AdBreakStart event
let adBreak = MPMediaAdBreak.init(title: "pre-roll", id: "123456")  // included as ad_break_title and ad_break_id for Ad Break Start/End and Summary events
adBreak.duration = 6000                                             // ad_break_duration 
mediaSession.logAdBreakStart(adBreak)                               // logs Ad Break Start event
  1. Trigger an AdStart event
let adContent = MPMediaAdContent.init(title: "What?! Nobody rips off my kids but me!", id: "4423210")   // included as ad_content_title and ad_content_id for Ad Start/End and Summary events 
adContent.advertiser = "Mom's Friendly Robot Company"                                                   // ad_content_advertiser 
adContent.campaign = "MomCorp Galactic Domination Plot 3201"                                            // ad_content_campaign 
adContent.duration = 60000                                                                              // ad_content_duration 
adContent.creative = "A Fishful of Dollars"                                                             // ad_content_creative
adContent.siteId = "moms"                                                                               // ad_content_site_id
adContent.placement = "first"                                                                           // ad_content_placement
adContent.position = 0                                                                                  // ad_content_position
mediaSession.logAdStart(adContent: adContent)                                                           // logs Ad Start event
  1. Fire AdEnd or AdSkip when appropriate
  1. Trigger an AdBreakEnd event when all ads have completed

Generating Custom Events

The Media SDK will generate “Media” events for client-side kits such as Adobe Media Analytics, however these events can be converted to look just like a typical mParticle custom event that may be used to create audiences, used in calculated attributes, and sent to most mParticle integrations for analysis and activation.

To enable Custom event generation, pass a boolean to the initialization of your MediaSession to enable the Log Page Event feature:

let mediaSession = MPMediaSession.init(
    coreSDK:  MParticle.sharedInstance(), // mParticle SDK Instance
    mediaContentId: '1234567',            // Custom media ID
    title: 'Funny internet cat video',    // Custom media Title
    duration: 120000,                     // Duration in milliseconds
    contentType: .video,                  // Content Type (Video or Audio)
    streamType: .onDemand,                // Stream Type (OnDemand, Live, etc.)
    logMPEvents: true,                    // Whether to log mParticle custom events for audiences and non-media kits
    logMediaEvents: true                  // Whether to log media events for media-enabled kits

Custom Event Schema

The Media SDK will generate Custom events per the specification below.

Event Names

The Media SDK exposes methods that will trigger Media Events based on the most common player functions. The Media SDK maps every MediaSession API to a predefined Custom event name. The table below details all of the predefineed Media Events:

Media Session API Custom Event Name
mediaSession.logPlay() ‘Play’
mediaSession.logPause() ‘Pause’
mediaSession.logMediaContentEnd:() ‘Media Content End’
mediaSession.logMediaSessionStart() ‘Media Session Start’
mediaSession.logMediaSessionEnd() ‘Media Session End’
mediaSession.logSeekStart() ‘Seek Start’
mediaSession.logSeekEnd() ‘Seek End’
mediaSession.logBufferStart() ‘Buffer Start’
mediaSession.logBufferEnd() ‘Buffer End’
mediaSession.logPlayheadPosition() ‘Update Playhead Position’
mediaSession.logAdClick() ‘Ad Click’
mediaSession.logAdBreakStart() ‘Ad Break Start’
mediaSession.logAdBreakEnd() ‘Ad Break End’
mediaSession.logAdStart() ‘Ad Start’
mediaSession.logAdEnd() ‘Ad End’
mediaSession.logAdSkip() ‘Ad Skip’
mediaSession.logSegmentStart() ‘Segment Start’
mediaSession.logSegmentEnd() ‘Segment End’
mediaSession.logSegmentSkip() ‘Segment Skip’
mediaSession.logUpdateQoS() ‘Update QoS’

Event Attributes

The media attributes below are a list of all available for capturing valuable information with every media event listed above. The customer will choose which attributes will be logged for each event to best describe the session characteristics for that event at that time. Should you require attributes not listed below, you may add your own media attributes.

Note: Depending on your player, you will need to either enable the callback method to receive updates for playhead position and quality of service (QoS) or set up a job to frequently poll for the current values.

Event Attribute Description
media_session_id Unique identifier assigned when media event starts (it is recommended that this be included with every event log)
media_session_start_time Timestamp for media session initiation
media_session_end_time Timestamp for media session completed, ended, or quit
media_session_ad_objects Array of all ad_content_ids consumed
media_session_custom_attribute Custom media session attribute
stream_type Encoded audio and video streams are assembled in a container “bitstream” such as MP4, FLV, WebM, ASF or ISMA stream types
stream_format The video stream is compressed using a video coding format to make the file size smaller. Video coding formats include H.264, HEVC, VP8 or VP9
content_type Content type name
content_id Unique content identifier
content_duration Content duration
content_title Content title
content_asset_id Content asset id
content_season A “season” is a reference to a set of episodes of a show within a specific period of time
content_episode An “episode” is a coherent narrative unit within a larger dramatic work, such as a radio, television, audio or video streaming series
content_daypart A “daypart” is the time division in a typical broadcast day by different media like Radio and Television. Different part of the days can be Morning shows, afternoon siesta, evening songs or prime time slot. Dayparts can be standard or customized.
content_originator Content source name
content_network A “network” includes broadcast and cable television networks, television distribution and production, domestic television stations, radio networks and stations, and audio and video streaming services.
content_mvpd A “multichannel video programming distributor” (MVPD) include cable operators, multichannel multipoint distribution services, direct broadcast satellite services, or television receive-only satellite program distributors.
content_feed Name of content feed
content_show Name of show
content_show_type Show type
content_genre A “genre” is a category of artistic composition, as in videos, music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
content_rating A content rating (also known as maturity rating)rates the suitability of TV broadcasts, movies, comic books, or video games to its audience.
content_authorized Content rights, release, or licence reference
content_first_air_date Date of initial broadcast
content_digital_date Date of initial digital distribution
playhead_position The current playhead position at the moment the event occured
milestone A “milestone” is a customer defined percentage of content consumed typically reported at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 95%. Customers may capture milestones at any percentage points they are most interested in tracking
buffer_duration Duration of content buffering
buffer_percent Percentage of content buffering
buffer_position Playhead positioin when buffering
seek_position Playhead position when seek began or ended
segment_title Segment title
segment_index Segment index
segment_duration Segment duration
ad_break_id Unique identifier for the ad break. Ad breaks may have one or more pieces of ad content
ad_break_title Ad break title
ad_break_duration Ad break duration
ad_content_id Unique identitifer for a specific piece of ad content
ad_content_title Ad content title
ad_content_duration Ad content duration
ad_content_advertiser Name of advertiser
ad_content_campaign Name of campaign
ad_content_creative Name of creative
ad_content_placement Description of placement
ad_content_position Index of position in content
ad_content_site_id Identifier of ad content site
ad_custom_attribute User defined attribute
player_name Then name of the player used
player_ovp Online Video Platform name
player_initial_resolution The default resolution of the content
qos_bitrate Quality of service (QoS) bitrate
qos_fps Quality of service (QoS) frames per second
qos_startup_time Quality of service (QoS) time from content play event to first frame
qos_dropped_frames Quality of service (QoS) dropped frames
other_attribute Replace “other_attribute” with any attribute name you wish to capture. The system will create an object with that name and store the value provided.

Example Event

    "event_type": "custom_event",
    "data": {
        "custom_event_type": "media",
        "event_name": "Play",
        "custom_flags": {},
        "timestamp_unixtime_ms": "1573828863888",
        "event_id": "-109840007014118971",
        "source_message_id": null,
        "session_id": "-8572887793551346848",
        "session_uuid": "29959B6B-9C3B-486F-9807-B5534EA1B16A",
        "session_start_unixtime_ms": "1573828757702",
        "event_start_unixtime_ms": "1573828863888",
        "custom_attributes": {
            "content_title": "My sweet sweet media",
            "content_duration": "120000",
            "content_id": "1234567",
            "content_type": "Video",
            "stream_type": "OnDemand",
            "media_session_id": "96a023b8-b0c7-47b7-b687-09f73b9dfac3",
            "playhead_position": "110123"

Custom media session attributes

You can create custom media session attributes when initializing a new media session directly in MPMediaSession.init. These custom session attributes are helpful when you need to track data like the specific page a piece of content was viewed on.

Custom media session attributes are automatically propagated to all subsequent media events logged during the session in addition to the media session summary event. Since custom session attributes are propagated to any event (a media event, advertising event, or a custom events) that is logged during the session, you don’t need to set these attributes again when you trigger the start of a media session.

How are these unique from custom event attributes?

There are several differences between event-level custom attributes and custom media session attributes:

  • Custom media session attributes are propagated to all media events, ad events, or other custom events that are logged during the current media session.
  • If there are any conflicts or collisions between custom media session attributes and event-level attributes, the event-level attributes override the session attributes.
  • Custom session attributes are also propagated to segment summary events and ad summary events, while custom event-level attributes are not.
  • Custom event attributes in the Media SDK are not included in the media session summary event.

Custom media session attribute limitations

  • Keys must be strings and cannot exceed 255 characters
  • Values may be strings, numbers, booleans, or dates, and cannot exceed 4096 characters
let mediaSession = MPMediaSession.init(
    coreSDK: mParticle,                 // mParticle SDK Instance
    mediaContentId: '1234567',          // Custom media ID
    title: 'Funny internet cat video',  // Custom media Title
    duration: 120000,                   // Duration in milliseconds
    contentType: .video,                // Content Type (Video or Audio)
    streamType: .onDemand)              // Stream Type (OnDemand, Live, etc.)
mediaSession.mediaSessionAttributes = [
    "my_session_attribute": "My Session Attribute"

Using the Event Listener

In cases where you may need to handle some custom functionality when a media event occurs, the Media SDK provides a mediaEventListener which will provide a callback.

For example, if you need to trigger a custom function when Play or Pause occurs:

mediaSession.mediaEventListener = { (event: MPMediaEvent) -> Void in
    // Some custom callback method defined by user
    // Should only trigger when play or pause is fired
    if event.mediaEventName == .play ||
       event.mediaEventName == .pause {
        // Get the Media Event as an mParticle Custom Event
        let mpEvent = event.toMPEvent();

        // Pass to your own custom function

Was this page helpful?