Thought Leadership

Rubicon Project and the IAB Tech Lab Plot the Future of OTT with VAST 4.1

September 26, 2018
By Sambit Patnaik

In light of the rapid growth of connected TV and over-the-top (OTT) media viewing, the advertising industry has begun a massive technological migration from client-side ad insertion to server-side ad insertion (SSAI). SSAI allows publishers to deliver a better user experience, support more device types, and overcome challenges associated with ad blocking.

As with any major technological shift, helping connected TV and OTT advertising reach its full potential requires new standards and practices. That’s why Rubicon Project is proud to have worked with IAB Tech Lab to incorporate an evolved standard for SSAI and server-side VAST calls into IAB Tech Lab’s VAST4.1 specification, the latest version of which was released for public comments in June.

“VAST 4.1 is likely to have the most significant impact to the video advertising ecosystem since VAST 2.0.” said Amit Shetty, Senior Director, Video and Audio, IAB Tech Lab. “It takes the promise of VAST 4.0 and incorporates practical feedback from key members of the Digital Video Technical Working Group like Rubicon Project, to help evolve VAST for the future of Connected TV and OTT.”

The previous VAST specification was not clear on how publishers SSAI platform should format server-side VAST calls to SSPs and other programmatic ad platforms, which resulted in these partners often identifying server calls as bot traffic and inadvertently blocking them. As a result, media owners and broadcasters were reluctant to deliver ads on their video streams due to the risk of low fill rate and unserved ads.  The new IAB Tech Lab VAST 4.1 standard resolves this and other issues and moves the industry closer to the future of addressable video advertising.

To keep pace with shifts in consumer TV viewing behavior, ad insertion needs to continue its rapid shift from client-side to server-side environments. Rubicon Project will continue to collaborate with the IAB Tech Lab and others to pursue vital initiatives such as this one that further this transition and ensure that OTT and connected TV advertising is ready for prime time.

For more information about these efforts and how we can help you meet your goals in video, contact us or reach out to your Rubicon Project account manager.

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