IAB Announces the Release of “VAST,” a Digital Video Ad Serving Template, for Public Comment

Great news for publishers with video inventory, at last! The IAB jumpstarted discussions around standardizing communication protocols between video players and servers – I wish the initiative took place half year earlier and save me and my coworkers a great deal of guesswork and improvisation around building our player (www.muzu.tv) and enable in-stream advertising (due next week, by the way). We’re working on it these days and we’re definitely going to share our experience, grievances, and, of course, successes 🙂

NEW YORK, NY (July 29, 2008)—To meet the need for standardization in the expanding digital video landscape, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today announced the release of a “Digital Video Ad Serving Template” (VAST), designed to standardize communication protocol between video players and servers.

VAST will allow companies to build digital video players and video ad servers that have the same interfaces and speak the same standard language. Publishers who use the standard will be able to plug into multiple third-party digital video ad servers and networks without additional development and therefore enable a powerful tool for improving yield.

This document:

– Defines a standard ad response for in-stream video
– Provides specifications that are compatible with any video player framework
– Includes guidance for most on-demand video players (i.e., Adobe’s Flash, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Real Player)
– Includes accommodations for linear video and interactive ads (e.g.“pre-roll”) as well as non-linear ads such as clickable overlays as described in the IAB Digital Ad Format Guidelines

“Digital video is one of the most exciting platforms to emerge within the interactive advertising ecosystem,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB. “VAST is a critical industry accomplishment because it lays out a much-needed mechanism for standardization in one of the hottest areas of interactive advertising.”

“VAST allows for standardized communication between ad servers and players which is essential as more and more marketers embrace digital video as a key element of their interactive media plans and publishers wish to maximize yield on their video inventory,” said Ari Paparo, Group Product Manager, Advertiser Products of Google.

The public comment period will last until September 10, 2008. The feedback will then be reviewed and the document will be finalized and publicly released.

To review the complete document, please go to: http://www.iab.net/vast

About the IAB’s Digital Video Committee:
The Digital Video Committee of the IAB is comprised of over 145 member companies actively engaged in the creation and execution of digital video advertising. One of the goals of the committee is to implement a comprehensive set of guidelines, measurement, and creative options for interactive video advertising. The committee works to educate marketers and agencies on the strength of digital video as a marketing vehicle. A full list of Committee member companies can be found at: http://www.iab.net/member_center/35088?iabid=a0330000000s0p4AAA

About the IAB:
Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (www.iab.net) represents over 375 leading interactive companies that actively engage in and support the sale of interactive advertising. IAB members are responsible for selling over 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the continuing growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research, and educates marketers, agencies, and media companies, as well as the wider business community, about the value of interactive advertising.