Blog Post Inserts Ads Into iTunes Video today started offering its creators a way to insert dynamic ads into video podcasts distributed through iTunes.

Blip isn’t the first company to offer such a service. VoloMedia and Kiptronic both insert ads into QuickTime videos.

The news was announced at a Beet.TV Online Video Summit in New York this morning. These podcast-friendly ads use DoubleClick’s DART platform, but can only support clickthrough when the viewer is watching video within iTunes on a computer. Ads inserted into videos won’t be clickable when watched on other devices like an iPod or an Apple TV.

The ads are dynamic, so they can be updated to reflect new campaigns or targeted to reach particular audiences. Examples of ads can be found here and here (both launch iTunes).

Blip says it distributes more than 37,000 actively updated web shows and that it served more than 51 million videos in September. CEO Mike Hudack told the panel today that 15 to 18 percent of its traffic comes from downloads, most of that through iTunes. Video podcast advertising on iTunes is available to users immediately, but only works with ads sold directly by creators or blip (not ad networks).

Disclosure: VoloMedia advertises on the GigaOM network, and NewTeeVee uses blip for video hosting.

8 Responses to “ Inserts Ads Into iTunes Video”

  1. Bill makes a good point about the importance of a ad measurement and insertion systems not requiring changes to publisher work flow.

    The Puma ad example, indicated in the original article, seems burned into the video and is not a true clickable overlay ad as one may perceive from appearances. This has two major implications:

    The overlay ads cannot be dynamic if they have to be re-encoded directly into the video.
    The media companies we work with take great pains in producing and packaging their content for distribution, and would be averse to anyone re-encoding their content and reducing the video quality in the process. VoloMedia does not re-encode publishers’ content and does not require content providers to adopt a specific proprietary video format. All of the RSS feeds from major companies such as ABC News, CNN, Business Week, Comedy Central, Discovery, Disney, ESPN, HBO, NBC, New Yorker, Newsweek, Oprah, CNBC, Fox News, MTV, National Geographic show a .m4v or .mp4 enclosures – not .mov which is what the announced Blip solution requires.

    As Mike wrote on another blog “Before we deliver videos we’re trafficking against to iTunes we transcode them to the universally compatible QuickTime format and then modify the container to insert the pointers to DART.” This would never fly with any media company we work with. The mov format is a proprietary Apple format, even Apple has adopted the open m4v/mp4 standard for a reason.

    VoloMedia technology on the other hand produces the most precise and comprehensive metrics available in the downloadable media space in a manner that is most compatible with how major media companies manage their online content.

  2. Blip’s recognition of DART’s importance underscores how this medium is very mainstream, even with mid/long tail publishers.

    Three Months ago, Kiptronic’s major media customers benefited from its launch of kipTraffic – both DoubleClick’s DART for Publishers and Microsoft’s Atlas AdManager ad trafficking.

    Kiptronic brings major media publishers dynamic video ad insertion with no changes to the publishing process due to the company’s integration across the major CDNs. Now with kipTraffic, publishers can traffic ads once and have those campaigns appear wherever the content goes – online and offline including iPods, iPhones, PC Apps (iTunes, Adobe Media Player), Internet connected devices (TVs, games, etc) and widgets.

    Our kipTrack solution, also available since August, provides support to track campaign performance with various agency reporting systems including Dart, Omniture and others.

  3. Hey Chris,

    There’s a string of comments on this topic on another blog, but thought I would copy this particular one here from Murgesh Navar, founder VoloMedia.

    Thanks for getting into a dialog on a subject matter very close to our hearts. We have been pushing for the most precise metrics in downloads since the inception of our company – and metrics have been a key aspect of our technology differentiation. Some thoughts from a VoloMedia perspective.

    We implemented prototypes of Quicktime container with sprites for interactivity along with trackback in mid 2007, but did not roll out as a product since it does not work with offline/portable media. Many of us who travel on long flights (or drive while listening to podcasts) understand the joys of taking our media with us – various industry analysts have observed 50% to 70% of consumption happen in a portable/disconnected setting. This is consistent with our experiences. A .mov container trackback would not be useful since all metrics are lost. In terms of VoloMedia metrics, all metrics are cached by the plug-in even while in a disconnected/portable state, metrics include download requests, distribution of partial downloads, completed downloads, elements of video plays, portable plays and interactive consumer engagement within iTunes video. We are able to capture a broad set of metrics, never losing any data. I recall discussing Quicktime trackbacks with Mike during a ADM lunch at the Portable media conference in 2007. Ofcourse, we would also love to talk to Blip again about metrics we can deliver – the broadest set of metrics that advertisers would care about, including offline and portable data. I agree that the plug-in is not universally embedded within every shipping iTunes – but we are seeing fast adoption by consumers. Many of our major media customers are beginning to wrap the plug-in as a requirement to receive their content. You can check out for one example (click on the “Download Podcast” button, preferably on a video feed like Fox News Flash). The interesting thing about the plug-in data is that it provides valuable insight into media consumption even prior to hitting a critical mass of adoption. We are able to see how a statistically significant set of consumers are actually interacting with the content and with the ads. This is useful data to publishers and advertisers, more useful than the download metrics by themselves.
    The VoloMedia plug-in is built to beacon back to third-party ad measurement systems. While we are not quite ready to announce specifics yet, we clearly see the benefits of precise metrics, open standards and third party systems integration. I welcome all initiatives that makes the download medium more measurable. This helps everyone in the industry, especially in weak economic times.
    There are a other key gaps with download/offline/potable media: 1) dynamic ad insertion – meaning you can change an advertisement after a download 2) limited consumer interactivity – most metrics conversation centers invariably around the needs of the publishers and advertisers. We feel consumer should be able to engage their download media just as they do any other web media, being able to quickly share or bookmark episodes and 3) fragmentation and measurability – iPhones, Android, iPod, TV set-top boxes, iTunes, Microsoft Zune, Adobe Media player, Sony PSP all do/will support RSS based subscription of h.264 video format downloads, but it becomes increasingly complicated to uniformly measure, and therefore monetize across such a disparate ecosystem. The .mov container is a proprietary Apple only technology. We are pushing the boundaries to address these critical gaps with a media player plug-in technology, the plug-in product has a longer roadmap ahead of it, even beyond the current Apple ecosystem.

  4. Hey Chris,

    Just wanted to mention that we’re providing third-party tracking of impressions using DART at the time the ad is viewed. So we’re offering the ability to do third-party tracking of ad impressions in video podcasts for the first time. We’re reporting actual ad impressions to the advertiser, and no longer relying on download numbers to get to some approximation of actual ad impressions. This is done without the need to install any software on the client, unlike other solutions for ad trafficking in downloadable media.

    I think that it also helps that the system is completely compatible with the DART platform that the majority of major advertisers already use.

    We believe that this is an industry first and that it’ll ultimately result in a significant increase in advertising dollars for video podcasts.


    Mike Hudack
    Cc-founder & CEO,