The final guidelines, released by the IAB in conjunction with its broadband committee, also recommend at least 200 Kbps for encoded bit rates--and state that at a minimum, viewers should be able to start and stop the ads and adjust the volume. The guidelines also say it's "recommended and acceptable" to give users the ability to fast-forward, rewind, pause, and zoom during the ads--but also state that the fast-forward button need not be enabled while the ad is playing.
The main beneficiaries of the standardization will be advertisers and end-users, said Larry Allen, Unicast's general manager and a member of IAB's broadband committee. "Having to adhere to certain standards should build confidence among advertisers concerned about their brand," said Allen. "For end-users, the benefits are obvious."
Regarding a fast-forwarding option for users viewing ads, Allen said that while the issue is regularly discussed as a potential standard, advertisers and publishers are staunchly opposed to the notion. "Giving end-users the ability to fast-forward through ads is an anomaly, and will probably stay that way," Allen said. "Advertisers draw the line with [fast forwarding]; they insist on some kind of a tax for content."
The broadband committee acknowledged Tuesday that there are still issues to be further explored, including optimum length and ad effectiveness per content category; third-party reporting; and frequency capping.
Only IAB members are eligible to receive the specially designed "compliance seal," and compliant publishers agree to accept any agency or advertiser creative executions that follow the guidelines' specifications. Technology providers deemed "compliant" are those that support the serving of all ads that conform to the guidelines' specifications.