Unicast Rolls Out New Format

Rich media advertising firm Unicast is debuting a more robust version of its interstitial ad format, in an effort to attract more advertising dollars online.

The New York-based company updated its Superstitial product to use a 300-kilobyte file size. The format’s earlier version had a 100k limit, that allowed advertisers to create ads of 20 seconds in length, and 550 pixels by 480 pixels in resolution (about two-thirds of a screen size.)

Ads in Unicast’s extended 300k format benefit from longer play — 30 seconds — and more breathing room for expanded interactive elements within the ad, like built-in micro-sites, forms, printing, click-to-video, and so on.

The enhancements, according to Unicast, make it easier for advertisers and agencies to craft online ads using existing elements from their television campaigns. For instance, the format could allow for the complete reuse of the voiceover from a 30-second television spot. (The older format, now dubbed the “100”, could allow only for much briefer audio clips.)

That change could be a boon for the Web advertising industry, Unicast said, since it reduces the cost and effort associated with developing online creative, thereby encouraging advertisers to include the Internet alongside traditional media buys.

“Unicast remains dedicated to understanding and responding to the needs of mainstream, budget-leading advertisers and their agencies,” said Unicast chairman and chief executive Richard Hopple. “The debut of the Superstitial 300 … will enable advertisers to take their ‘ready-step’ to accomplish the more aggressive online marketing goals that today’s advertising market requires.”

Already, advertisers like Universal Pictures and adiamondisoforever.com have committed to running campaigns in the new format. Only a handful of the largest sites and networks offer the Superstitial 300, though Unicast maintains that all of its 800-plus publishing partners should be selling the new format by March.

The new format rollout comes on the heels’ of Unicast’s efforts to crack down on other rich media firms, following the successful patenting of its ad delivery technology. To date, the company has named eyeblaster, Enliven, Bluestreak and VIPcast as having products that potentially infringe on the Superstitial patents.

Instead of pursuing licensing agreements — as is sometimes done in the technology sector, where such practices often prove lucrative — Unicast said it plans to compel competitors to drop infringing products entirely. Spokespeople said that weeding out rival ad formats would promote the medium to advertisers, thanks to a decrease in “format clutter.”

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