Break Media Launches Online Video Industry Group

headshotBreak Media today plans to announce the launch of a new industry group seeking to promote the efficacy of online video advertising.

Composed of online video companies, agencies and technology providers, the Online Video Advertising ROI Council aims to provide a forum for research, discussion and education centered on the emerging video ad category.

In addition to Break Media, charter members include Ogilvy One, truTV, the National Geographic Channel, AT&T, Panache, Lotame, Visible Measures, Horizon Media and Initiative Media.

The council will meet quarterly and offer access to custom research with members analyzing engagement and effectiveness for different types of video ads in niche market segments. A key goal is to highlight the value of online media compared to traditional formats like TV and radio.

"There are brands out there whose audiences are very clearly spending a majority of their time online, while at same time a majority of ad dollars are still spent on traditional media," said Break Media CEO Keith Richman, whose new group is being formally unveiled at a New York luncheon today.

The Council cites data from research company Millward Brown showing that 60% of consumers go online for one to four hours daily--almost the same proportion as those who watch TV every day for the same length of time (66%).

Richman acknowledged that a lack of standardized metrics for online video has been a stumbling block to increased advertising. "Is it clicks, is it impressions?" he said. "What makes a campaign successful? Every brand and agency has a different idea right now."

That's not to mention the growing list of video ad formats: in-stream, in-banner, in-text, linear, non-linear, pre-roll, post-roll, layovers.

Break Media itself in March unveiled its own ad unit, which expands across the screen to let users view a high-resolution version of a video clip. Other online video companies have introduced their own specialized ad types.

Media companies, agencies and marketers have been trying to catch up with the online video explosion by establishing new standards to ease the planning and buying of video inventory. Earlier this month, the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Digital Video Committee issued guidelines for digital ad video formats for public comment through May 2.

The guidelines deal with in-stream ads, and are aimed at standardizing requirements for creative submissions in video spots and defining metrics beyond impressions for video ads such as "midpoints" and "completes."

They also seek to ease digital buying across multiple sites by creating common sizes for overlay and companion ads.

While welcoming the IAB efforts, in which Break Media is a participant, Richman said there was still room for other groups to tackle the issues around video advertising. "I credit the IAB with taking real steps forward, and we'll be looking at the metrics coming from the IAB," said Richman. "Those could very well become the Holy Grail, but it's not clear that will be the case yet."

According to an Accustream iMedia Research report, $420 million was spent of pre-roll ads last year. But that's only a fraction of the 65.3 billion spent on TV advertising in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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