The Pool is a group of publishers (MSN, Hulu, CBS) and advertisers who have been corralled by Vivaki – the Publicis enterprise. Their aims are to figure out how video advertising can be standardised across multiple platforms and how the process can be streamlined. Without doubt their aims are worthy, media agencies and publishers alike want this market to grow and to be successful, is this the best mechanism for achieving that? Well that rather depends on how much other agency groups will sit up and take notice of what they are doing. After all if Vivaki do create some ’standards’ how much notice will Omnicom, Group M or Aegis take of them?
The Internet Advertising Bureau has been working with technology providers, publishers and agencies to define the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) and the Video Player Ad Interface Definition (VPAID), these standards are designed to make it easy for agencies to buy across multiple publishers. The second version of the VAST standard is already under discussion which should hopefully formalise some of the woollier areas of the first attempt. If the technology providers such as DoubleClick, Eyewonder, Eyeblaster et al can help the publishers that they work with to adopt the standards then this should naturally lubricate the market.
Of course the Pool has one advantage over the IAB’s efforts. Vivaki buys advertising space and therefore has some teeth with which to persuade the relevant parties to get involved and to collaborate on developing the formats and standards that will make life easier for the advertisers. The IAB relies upon the musketeer attitude of all for one and one for all in the hope that those involved see the value of making the market grow.
How it will all pan out remains to be seen but the general direction of these efforts is a positive one.