15 Second Pre-Roll Video Ads Will Become The Standard

Yesterday, there were a bunch of interesting announcements that came out at the IAB Digital Video Leadership Forum in NYC, the most interesting being from NBC Universal.

NBC announced that it would no longer run or accept pre-roll ads longer than 15 seconds for short-form content. They did not define what length "short-form" is to them, but also said they would still run 30 seconds pre-roll ads in front of full-length episodes. This is a smart move on their part. I know a lot of sites already run 15 second ads, but in most cases, the advertiser really ends up deciding the length of the ad as opposed to the site.

NBC also announced that it had partnered with a handful of rich media companies including Unicast, Eyewonder, Pointroll and EyeBlaster to create new forms of online ads that let users direct the playback of advertisers’ messages and that enable branding in the video player itself, thereby giving more control to the viewer. Another smart move on their part as it is giving the viewer more say in how the ads are consumed. Instead of just forcing viewers into an experience that you know they don’t want, why not give the viewer the ability to customize the ad playback so that it’s a better user experience and gets the advertiser better branding. I think I am like many viewers on the web where when I see a 30 second pre-roll ad, I hit mute and go do something else for 30 seconds until the ad is over. If NBC can keep that ad down to 15 seconds and allow me to better customize my experience with the ad, I’d probably sit through it.

NBC set a July deadline for implementation to allow advertisers time to prepare for their new standard.