Standards for ad formats have always been, shall we say, loose. Or altogether nonexistent. Enter Adobe and Panache. The two are now in a partnership that just might change all that.
Here's the problem that exists today when it comes to online video ad formats: Big content providers like CBS or NBC or nytimes.com generally use either proprietary video players or players from companies like PermissionTV, thePlatform or Brightcove. That can present challenges for advertisers, who adore scale and simplicity when they buy any form of advertising, but especially online ads.
Advertisers want to buy online video across a range of sites and not think twice about formats or players. They don't want to worry if the pre-roll for CBS will fit in the player that NBC uses, or if the mid-roll on nytimes.com gets inserted at the same spot on ESPN.com as well. Adobe and Panache aim to solve that piece of the puzzle by creating a common language for media players, so to speak.
Under the partnership, Adobe is offering Panache's technology in the Adobe Media Player for video publishers to use to deliver ads. That makes it easier for content providers to insert ads directly into a player in an automated fashion, says Steve Robinson, president of Panache. Publishers can match where they want an ad to start and where the ad should appear in the video, using a visual interface and the same ad servers they use today, such as DoubleClick and Atlas. The technology can understand pretty much all types of ads. "Publishers now have the ability to put any ad into their video without having to wonder if it will work with their videos," Robinson says. "If someone wants to buy across CBS and other networks, they can do that more easily."
Adobe launched its media player in April and expects tens of millions of downloads, says Ashley Still, senior product manager for Adobe Media Player. One of the solutions the partnership affords is the creation of templates for various video formats, so if a publisher wants a pre-roll or banner or overlay, they can create the template once and re-use it again and again. "People who are much less technical can use this interface to match and publish in a format that can be put directly into the player," Still says.
The partnership has potential, says Alex Lindsay, an online video expert and chief architect of Pixel Corps, a San Francisco organization of new media. "I think Adobe is leading the way in online advertising. With what they have now and what they are talking about in the near future ... they are creating what could be the standard for the next generation of online ad-supported content."Adobe counts big publishers like CBS, Scripps, Condé Nast and MTV among its clients, while Panache's clients include CBS and break.com. That should help spread adoption of standards.