In-Stream Ad Networks Making Some Progress; Tremor Signs Ruckus

It’s hard to get a handle on the importance of video pre-roll and other in-stream advertising formats right now. Some media buying execs have said the inventory is so scarce it’s hardly even on their radar, while others are still heralding (and heavily investing in) its supposed future dominance.

The latter group includes video players/ad networks like Brightcove and Tremor Networks. Tremor announced today it’s been tapped by college media network Ruckus to sell in-stream video ad placements through its Ad-inStream network. I challenged the companies to show me that in-stream is living up to the hype that favored it one to two years ago (back when bought LightningCast) and was suitably impressed with what they told me. While the volume may be far behind what advertisers want (roughly 300 million ads served a month in Tremor’s network), it’s also clear the company is putting in the legwork to determine what’s going to work best for the user and advertiser, not just what’s going to be most “impactful.”

“In-stream, if it’s done right, is a very good format,” CEO Jason Glickman said. He believes in-stream will work best as online videos get longer and longer — for instance “if there’s a 20 minute piece of content, and you see an ad at the 10 minute point and the 17 minute point.”

I’m still not convinced the best ad products to accompany video content will necessarily be video, but it’s heartening to know we’re past the phase where :30 spots are being dropped unceremoniously into every short form bit of content in sight.

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