Video ad tech providers FreeWheel and Mixpo have collaborated with Discovery Communications to deliver the first VPAID 2.0-enabled video ad campaign across desktop and mobile. The interactive in-stream ads are running on Discovery's Animal Planet online and mobile properties.
VPAID 2.0 is an IAB standard that defines a common interface between video players and ad units, enabling in-stream interactivity. It obviates the need for advertisers to create custom code in order for an interactive campaign to work across multiple video players. As a result, interactive campaigns can be deployed across desktop and mobile far quicker and more cost-effectively, while using common ad serving/decisioning. (Mixpo created a short video explaining all this).
The big benefit for content providers like Discovery is the ability to sell interactive campaigns across platforms, which can be more easily implemented. Cross-platform video ad packages will be a big theme of this season's upfronts as audiences continue migrating their viewing to tablets. As one prominent example of mobile's impact, I recently wrote how YouTube's online views were down 32% year-over-year due to an explosion of mobile video views, which are outside comScore's measurement.
The trend toward mobile video viewing for long-form content is poised to grow significantly, both because tablets are becoming omnipresent and because TV Everywhere deployments are bringing more TV programming to multiple devices. While tablets have clear multi-generational appeal, a new study from Piper Jaffray showed an astounding 51% of teens from upper-income families already own a tablet, which is no doubt where their viewing will migrate. As a result, going forward, mobile video ads will become imperative to reach teens.
Meanwhile, not a week goes by these days without news of another group of cable networks enabling TV Everywhere distribution with another pay-TV operator. Though TV Everywhere still has obstacles to surmount, as viewers get more comfortable authenticating, their tablet viewership is bound to soar, in turn creating the need for seamless cross-platform video campaigns, enabled by VPAID 2.0.