Eyeblaster Adds Streaming Capabilities

Rich media platform vendor Eyeblaster announced the newest enhancement to its rich media platform, giving advertisers the chance to run streaming video ads of up to 1 megabyte without slowing pages’ load times.

The capability in Eyeblaster 5.3 comes thanks to the company’s so-called “polite” downloading technology that will load just a portion of the ad while waiting for the page to load, to avoid interfering with the user experience.

AOL is among the handful of companies using the streaming video ad capability, running an expandable window ad to promote its United Kingdom service’s Sessions@AOL. When a user mouses over the banner, it expands and features video clips of artists’ performances and interviews. The ads were designed by Carat Interactive’s UK office. AOL will also run the ads on its U.S. service.

Previously, the upper limit for a window ad such like the one featuring Sessions@AOL was 300 kilobytes.

Eyeblaster said the streaming video ad capability is available for Flash files in all seven formats run on its platform. Thanks to the integration of Flash MX into the Eyeblaster platform, the company said just about any video format could be imported into the ads.

Eyeblaster CEO Gal Trifon said that with broadband penetration expected to reach 50 percent in the next two years, the time was right for advertisers to use streaming video to capture audience attention.

“There’s an obvious challenge for agencies and advertisers to express themselves creatively on the Web,” he said.

While publishers would previously shy away from such weighty ads for fear of slowing their page loads to a crawl, polite downloading takes care of this problem, Trifon said.

The company uses a similar approach with its rich media banner, which weighs about 100 kilobytes but does not slow down page loads.

In addition to the streaming functionality, Eyeblaster 5.3 offers bandwidth detection allowing an agency to design creative executions for both high-speed and narrowband users. It also includes more customization tools, allowing agencies to control such things as the amount of the ad that loads before the ad plays.

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