For those of us selling in-stream video advertising to advertisers and agencies the good news about budgets moving into our space keeps coming. According to an Accustream iMedia Research report $420 million was spent in pre-roll ads in 2007. Based on conversations that I have had with both advertisers and agencies, in-stream will see a substantial increase in budgets in 2008 as well.
Compared to the $65.3 billion spent in 2006 on television advertising, pre-roll is still a blip on the screen. Over the years numerous companies have discussed the need for establishing standards that will make planning and buying online video advertising easier for everyone. In late 2007 the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) did just that. Led by Jeremy Fain, Senior Director of Industry Services, 120 companies have come together to form the IAB's Digital Video (DV) Committee.
Participating companies represent the entire online video advertising ecosystem, including publishers, networks, research firms, technology providers, and agencies. The DV Committee's goal is to identify essential standardization initiatives for online video advertising and then educate stakeholders on the steps being taken to ensure accountability within the medium.
The DV Committee's first white paper, "A Digital Video Advertising Overview", was released on Jan. 24. DV Committee representatives presented findings at an IAB seminar on Feb. 13 in New York City. Mike Hurt from Microsoft and co-chair of The DV Committee summed up the collective feeling when he said, "I am amazed to be on a committee that has me actively engaged with Google, Yahoo and a number of competitors to establish best practices for our industry."
The DV Committee's work mirrors what the cable industry did back in the early '80s to establish industry standards so agencies could compare apples to apples on a network by network basis. Since the Internet has thousands of video sites compared to the less than one hundred cable networks in the '80s, the task of the DV Committee is much more complex. One of the goals of the initial white paper was to eliminate industry confusion pertaining to online video. Key items were defined as follows,
Video advertising units:
Online video content (three primary types):
The Feb. 13 seminar centered on key industry challenges:
In regards to establishing standards and best practices, which will give media buyers a solid footing when evaluating video advertising in the cross media landscape, the IAB has formed two working groups within the DV Committee: the Ad Format Standards Working Group and the Core Metrics Working Group. Specifically, the working groups aim to:
The DV Committee, along with its working groups, will release their thoughts for industry adoption upon completion.
On the creative front, more 15-second and shorter ads are becoming available. The data on reporting click-through rates, ad playrates and interaction with the ads is already in place but needs to be standardized.
The various IAB committees will be reviewing findings with industry-wide stakeholders in one-to-one meetings and will be releasing a series of white papers on the standards that are being approved along with numerous case studies. The recent white paper and IAB workshop are just starting points for the powerful work that is making online video advertising a major marketing channel.