Apple, Google technology moves set challenge for online video advertisers

Another day, another challenge for online video advertisers trying to make sure their ads are viewed. Both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) are taking separate measures to remove annoyances from their users' lives, at the expense of online video advertisers.

In a widely publicized move this week, Apple announced its next iOS version, iOS 9, will include ad-blocking capability that will keep video and display ads from being seen on its mobile devices.

While it may be a welcome respite from increasing mobile ad clutter for users, Apple isn't making friends among brand marketers, publishers and its high-tech neighbors in Silicon Valley, The Wall Street Journal reports.  "If fewer users see ads, publishers -- and other players such as ad networks -- will reap less revenue," the publication said.

It's not all bad news for brand advertisers, though. The technology won't be powered by Apple. It must be enabled by developers writing programs that work with its iOS 9 platform. And in-app ads will not be affected, WSJ said.

In the meantime, Google announced that its Chrome browser won't allow Flash-based video ads to autoplay: users must click on an ad to play it.

Google's move is intended mainly to force advertisers to shift their video formats from Flash, which is fast becoming about as popular as the chain-smokers standing outside an office building, to HTML 5, an open standard that is considered to be more stable and secure than Flash.

The strategy is a decisive move in a month filled with similar efforts to push slow adopters toward HTML 5. In July, Mozilla began blocking all versions of Flash on its Firefox browser, citing ongoing security vulnerabilities.

It's a change whose time has come, according to Aaron Wood, director of production services for AOL Premium Experiences at AOL Platforms. "As browsers are dropping or altering their support for Flash, the change is certainly stimulated," he said in an email to FierceOnlineVideo. "The conversation has definitely shifted from 'should' to 'when' and HTML5 is the clear alternative. The added trend of more video content players moving to HTML probably means that by 2017, we'll have very strong adoption of the technology."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this bit-tech article

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