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By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

March 3, 2016 | 3 min read

AppNexus, has today (3 March) announced the launch of new technology which it claims improves video load times by a factor of 100 or more, meaning video ads sold on its platform can now load at a speed of 50 milliseconds, down from load times of five seconds or more seen on publisher sites.

The launch addresses a critical problem in the digital advertising ecosystem and follows on the heels of its recent launch of an open outstream video marketplace. It comes admid the rising tide of ad blocking with issues such as latency, etc increasingly cited as reasons for consumers opting to install such software.

AppNexus is dubbing the new launch as an “anti-latency solution”, with the latest launch forming part of its video initiative that kicked off in June last year. Eric Hoffert, senior vice-president of video technology at AppNexus, added: "Today’s announcement is a transformative event for digital advertising.

"Latency is one of the greatest challenges facing the video advertising industry. On average, every incremental one-second buffering delay for video playback results in a six per cent increase in abandonment rate. When a video fails to load immediately, end viewers don’t know whether there’s an issue with the publisher’s content or an issue with the ad.

"Both possibilities trigger user flight, a problem that is especially vexing for independent publishers who provide a diversity of rich, alternative content to the walled video gardens of Facebook and YouTube."

A recent research study from AppNexus demonstrated that close to 40 per cent of publishers cited slow video load times as a principal concern, with the ad tech outfit citing research that claimed that 25 per cent of video users abandon content after a delay of five seconds, 40 per cent abandon after a delay of ten seconds, and 80 per cent abandon after 20 seconds.

The new technology combats latency for instream video by running client-side mediation in advance of video playback, introducing video ad caching, and unwrapping VAST to confirm valid video creative, which then configures time-out settings that put a video publisher in full control of the creatives running on their pages.

This approach uses standardized HTML5 local storage for video ad caching to provide seamless delivery of video ads across desktop and mobile web (see video).

“We’re living in 2016, not 1996,” added Hoffert. “Online video should be as seamless, fast, and fluid as television. Until the industry meets that objective, there is still work to be done.

"Our approach takes measured steps to improve the underlying functionality of how programmatic video works, not layer on additional functionality and complexity.

"But this is also a call to action. Every millisecond counts, and all industry actors need to work together to solve the latency problem and create a better video internet.”