IAB introduces first online video ad standards

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is next week unveiling the first industry-wide standards for online video pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll advertising. The standards have been composed by the IAB's Video Advertising Council. The trade body said the move comes in response to concerns that advertisers are not making the most of online video opportunities, because many traditional agencies and production companies continue to ignore the needs of media owners. At a time when online video is rapidly increasing in usage, with 11.45 million people clicking to watch video clips in Jan 2008 alone (BRMB), media owners are receiving a multitude of files types and varying degrees of quality. The IAB standards are designed to simplify the planning, creative, booking and buying process - particularly for cross-site campaigns. The key recommendations of the standards include:
  • Video ads should be 15 seconds or less
  • Should be in widescreen (16:9 ratio)
  • Specified dimension size: Primary: 16:9, 426 x 240 pixels or Secondary: 4:3, 320 x 240 pixels
  • Recommended bitrates 200kbps | 500 kbps | 750kbps (no dial-up)
  • Legible text - too often text, such as end lines and terms and conditions, are in a font or on a background that is illegible on PC or laptop screens
  • Have less detail, consider screen size
The standards are available to download at www.iabuk.net/videostandards and have already been accepted by media owners including AOL, Bauer, BSkyB, Channel 4, CNET Networks, The Guardian, ITV, Microsoft and The Telegraph. To coincide with the new standard, the IAB is dedicating more resource to video advertising with the video taskforce changing into a monthly Video Advertising Council that will launch later this year. The Council will work on education to reduce market confusion and offering best practice guidance around other emerging video formats such as Flash banner and interactive adverts. Jack Wallington, programmes manager at the IAB, said: "Video standards are essential for advertisers to get the most out of the medium. Just like a cinema ad has to be different to TV, the IAB strongly advises creating ads specifically for online, playing to the medium's strengths. When shooting a commercial for TV you must always consider how it will need different shots to be edited to work on a desktop or laptop screen." In July the Video Advertising Council appointed Robert Black, business development director at UTarget.FOX, as its first chairman. Black said: "It is great news that the IAB is increasing its resource for Video and the Council is looking to make it easier for as many publishers and advertisers as possible to take part in what is a major sea change in user's online behaviour as they consume more video. The new standard is just the first step in what we hope to achieve in creating a framework to increase the amount spent on video advertising and showing the powerful brand impact that it has." Founded in July 2008 the IAB Video Standards council is one of the IAB's fastest-growing groups and already has over 20 members, including media-owner heavyweights such as AOL, Bauer, BSkyB, Channel 4, CNET Networks, The Guardian, ITV, Microsoft, The Telegraph. Agencies and providers include Advertising.com, Novarising, Coull, UTarget.FOX and MTV / Viacom.

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