Advertising.com Accepts Rovion Format in Rich Media Network

In an effort to broaden its offerings, AOL’s Advertising.com has added Rovion’s inPerson streaming video technology to the roster of approved formats in its rich media network. The inPerson technology looks like a cross between a floating ad format and a streaming video format.

“I think media buyers in general are always looking for great new technologies and splashy effects online,” commented Jupiter Research Analyst Emily Riley. Indeed, advertisers are expressing demand for video ads and other unique formats, and more and more people have the broadband access it takes to make them a viable option. “Now,” concluded Riley, “it’s up to publishers to play catch-up and get the technologies in place.”

One way publishers can facilitate that is by aligning with a network such as Advertising.com’s. The 95 publishers in the company’s rich media network, which include WhitePages.com, Maps.com and AutoTrader.com, will now have the choice of enabling the Rovion technology on their sites.

“I think the draw for Advertising.com is to really be able to support as many formats as possible,” explained Eric Eller, senior director of products and marketing at Advertising.com. “Anecdotally, we feel that from an RFP reception process that a greater percentage [of advertisers] are asking about rich media capabilities,” as opposed to a couple of years ago. The company’s rich media network launched in December 2005 with around 55 publishers. Advertising.com also launched a new pre-roll video ad network earlier this month.

Used both as a Web site enhancement and an ad unit, the Rovion inPerson format presents video and audio streams above site content without any defined borders, loading completely before it begins playing automatically. Picture a tiny talking spokesperson, an animated image or a car whizzing across the screen.

“Our platform allows us to serve anything. We can serve banners, pop-ups, floaters, but quite frankly that puts us square into a commodity game,” explained Rovion CEO Len Ostroff, who believes that the inPerson format sets the firm apart from rich media competitors, most of which are also included in Advertising.com’s rich media network.

According to Eller, Advertising.com accepts “pretty much every” rich media technology available including PointRoll, Dart Motif and Eyeblaster. Eller expects advertisers like pharmaceutical companies that need to include details and product information in ads will gravitate towards using the format. Advertisers will have access to the same targeting capabilities for inPerson campaigns as with other ads running on the Advertising.com network, including contextual, behavioral and geographic; frequency-capping also can be enabled.

Jupiter’s Riley suggested that some brand advertisers might be cautious about using such a format, and perhaps more significantly, publishers may be concerned that it’s too invasive to adopt on their sites. Eller said that publishers in the rich media network already accept other floating formats, which some consider intrusive, so he doesn’t think they’ll have a problem accepting the inPerson technology.

Though not a part of the Advertising.com deal, The Food Network is currently running a 10-day inPerson ad campaign on its own site and TVGuide.com to encourage visitors to vote for their favorite contestant in the channel’s “The Next Food Network Star” contest. Rovion’s technology is already accepted by ABC-owned and -operated station Web sites, CBS Radio station sites, McClatchy newspaper sites, and others.

Rovion’s Ostroff believes acceptance into the network will validate the technology in the eyes of advertisers and “will have a demonstrable effect on our ability to grow the business.” He told ClickZ News he expects to make a few more announcements in next couple weeks regarding acceptance into other ad networks. The company is also in talks with portals: “all the usual suspects,” he said.

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