If this seems out of context, you may want to revisit my article from 2013, which outlines the similarities and differences between MRAID and VPAID, and which makes a case for the introduction of the standard announced today.
What is the MRAID Video Addendum?
At its core, this addendum boils down to an agreement between ad vendors and SDK providers to enable advertisers and agencies to run interactive video in in-app placements:
Why add video capabilities to a rich-media standard (MRAID) rather than extend a video standard (VPAID) across the mobile ecosystem?
Long-term, it may be the case that VPAID evolves into the dominant cross-platform video standard, which would include mobile. However, there are a few reasons that we believe adding support for video to MRAID makes sense to meet the short to mid-term needs of agencies and advertisers:
If I’m a publisher, is it better to adopt the MRAID Video Addendum or HTML5 VPAID to support interactive video executions on mobile?
This depends on the technology you currently have in place and the content you are showing. If you’re a video-centric company with a cross-platform player and apps, VPAID may be the best approach. If you’re a company with apps that do something other than play video all the time, you may want to take the MRAID route, especially if you’ve already implemented MRAID support.
One important limitation to take note of is that the iPhone does not play inline video on the mobile Web. Rather, the video is handed over to the native player, which means nothing can be rendered on top of it. This can present a problem for companies hoping to take a mobile web-centric approach.
Discussions are underway to see how VPAID can evolve to better account for mobile environments. For the remainder of this year, adoption of the MRAID Video Addendum will hopefully help to solve inventory and publisher compatibility issues for those agencies and advertisers who want to run interactive video on mobile, which makes a lot of sense given these devices have touchscreens.
Regardless, I commend the IAB for taking a pragmatic approach to solving current inventory issues rather than waiting for a longer-term shakeout of two standards. This is a great step forward to enable more and better cross-platform video ad experiences.