Media owners warned: start meeting video standards or lose our business

Media agency Ikon Communications has given online publishers four weeks to meet industry standards for video players or be dropped from its schedule.

If publishers are not VAST – Video Ad Serving Template – compliant by April 1, Ikon has warned that they face losing its clients’ business.

Ikon now allocates 15% of its TV budgets to buying online video ads.  

Advertisers and agencies prefer dealing with VAST-compliant sites and advertising networks because they can use their own adserver, which allows them to track progress of a campaign and control the number of times an ad is played to the same consumer, rather than be forced to take a publisher’s word for how often a video played. Ikon uses Mediamind as its video ad server.

Ikon’s head of digital video Sandra Wee said: “The beauty of digital is that it is measurable. If we aren’t tracking our digital video through a third party, then agencies have an incredibly limited view on reach and frequency. It is vital that we have complete visibility around reach and verification that ads have run. This is why we will only be trading with VAST compliant video publishers by the first of April.”

Wee warned: “Currently the majority of the Australian digital broadcast industry  is not served through an ad server, which means agencies rely on publisher reports and are not able to view campaign reach holistically.”

The VAST standard was developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

It allows advertisers to access their own information on data such as dwell time, publisher duplication, video completion rate, reach and frequency.

The standard also allows for the creation of a single format for video ads, rather than agencies having to repurpose work depending on the media publisher.

VAST compliant publishers so far include the Microsoft media network and Fairfax Digital.

Others due to become VAST compliant in the next few weeks include the Adconion network, NineMSN, Yahoo7, Ten Digital and SBS.


  1. Grant McNicol
    2 Mar 11
    4:01 pm

  2. Sandra’s right, there should be more transparency in digital.

    We represent online video advertising and analytics platform TubeMogul. TubeMogul are both VAST and VPAID compliant already. Plus we integrate with the major Ad Servers like MediaMind, Atlas and DFA, to offer enhanced data like duplicated and unduplicated reach and % overlaps!

  3. Peter Ostick
    2 Mar 11
    4:12 pm

  4. This initiative makes a lot of sense for media buyers who don’t want to have to rely on publishers to tell them how great a campaign was. ps TVN was the first VAST compliant publisher in the market!!!

  5. Ness, digital industry orginal
    2 Mar 11
    4:19 pm

  6. Here here!

    VAST & VPAID compliance! Lets show the rest of the world how its done!

  7. Logic
    2 Mar 11
    4:21 pm

  8. 15% of TV budget to video online.

    This would mean from my napkin maths, Ikon is spending around $40-50m on video annually if not more. Would this include ad units that run video or pre-roll only?

  9. Peter Graves
    2 Mar 11
    5:32 pm

  10. Good to see this getting some attention.. will become increasingly important for publishers large & small to stay across these developments if they are going to take advantage of the rapidly growing video advertising market… For those who want a bit more info on video advertising and VAST we have some good articles here

  11. Face the hard questions
    2 Mar 11
    6:00 pm

  12. Fairfax dodgy pre-rolls … what does this mean to you as a “leader” ??

  13. Logic
    2 Mar 11
    6:06 pm

  14. amazing it’s taken this long. typical media vendors – they only truly act when their hand is forced. should have happened 4 years ago when video was emerging.

  15. Ellie Rogers
    2 Mar 11
    9:58 pm

  16. Hi Logic and Others,

    I head up the digital department at Ikon and wanted to respond to your question around our agency’s digital video buys. Our digital broadcast strategies use a variety of both in stream and in banner ads to hit audiences and objectives.

    We have worked really closely with publishing partners over the last six months to ensure that we have a VAST solution in place ahead of our upcoming deadline, and I am pleased to say that our key partners have responded quickly, and effectively.

    Our policy around only trading with VAST compliant publishers post 1st April shows our absolute commitment to providing transparency, and efficiency for our advertisers within the video space.

    If there are any other questions around VAST or if anyone is interested in taking a look our other agency guidelines around digital broadcast shoot me a note on


  17. Cap'n Salad
    2 Mar 11
    11:12 pm

  18. Oooooh! Ikon trying to be as scary as WPP after losing out to MediaCom at the AdNews Agency of the Year awards!

    Here’s a tip, Ikonoclasts: combine big collars with bald heads and smug grins – it’s the formula for success du jour!

  19. *YAWN*
    10 Mar 11
    1:32 pm

  20. Well done Ellie & team on making this stance. It’s also good to hear that publishers are taking positive steps to make themselves VAST compliant.

    Keep up the good work, it’s beneficial to the wider marketplace.