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Addressing VPAID in the Final Days of Flash

Addressing VPAID in the Final Days of Flash

The end of 2016 is approaching, which means that soon all popular web browsers will no longer support Flash by default. How will the ecosystem react to what becomes a ubiquitous disruptive online experience? Will users abandon sites when they see broken puzzle pieces and annoying plugin prompts? Will publishers lose meaningful ad revenue because Flash VPAID ad units don’t run? Will advertisers struggle to execute their cross-screen ad campaigns?

Fortunately for our customers, Brightcove has been preparing for Flash’s demise for over 2 years now, recognizing the numerous benefits (some mentioned here) of the future Flash-free Web. Our web player plays HLS video on all major browsers without using Flash, and we support playback of HTML5 VPAID ad units, meaning customers today can offer a completely Flash-free video experience. And, to those who still depend on Flash, we can’t stress enough that now is the time to make the switch.

We realize, however, that for some publishers, especially those with ad-supported content, the switch isn’t a simple change. Flash has prevailed for this long because it exists as an ecosystem issue, and moving away from it requires multiple parties to realize its negative effect on content performance, platform reach and security - and to take action. For example, Brightcove’s web player supports playback of HTML5 VPAID ads, but that doesn’t mean that there’s an abundance of HTML5 VPAID ads available to be served. In fact, based on our conversations with leading ad tech platforms, HTML5 VPAID makes up less than 10% of ads today, and many publishers aren’t sure if they should risk fill rate by not accepting Flash VPAID.

So, why aren’t more advertisers and agencies jumping on board? There are multiple reasons, but one is that they have lacked the resources to change their current ad creative production process, i.e., to start producing creative written in JavaScript. To help solve this particular challenge, Sizmek recently released an HTML5 VPAID authoring tool within its Ad Builder platform. It enables easy creation of interactive ads without any coding required.

While the tool is for advertisers and agencies, its availability should be considered a win for publishers. We strongly encourage publishers to understand solutions like Sizmek’s new offering and to start a dialog with their advertiser partners about making the switch to HTML5 VPAID. Also, check out the work of Sizmek’s tool by clicking on the Brightcove Player below and experiencing the interactive pre-roll.

If you want to talk more about video ad tech and are attending the IAB’s Ad Ops Summit today in NYC, I’ll be there along with our director of product management, Andrew Broadstone.