Gone in a Flash, but Still Twinkling


By Christine Schoultz

A Q&A on the transition from Flash to HTML5

To get an inside look at how this slow transition is affecting the industry, LKQD CEO Brian DeFrancesco answered a few of our questions.

It’s no secret that the days are numbered for Flash. As operating systems and browsers continually disable and block Flash, the end is imminent for this aging technology. However, the digital video advertising industry is lagging behind, and is one of the largest holdouts when it comes to transitioning to HTML5 for online video ads. This is leading to inefficiencies and lost revenue opportunities for many publishers.

What is taking the transition so long?

Steve jobs first announced Flash as outdated and not suitable in a now famous “Thoughts on Flash” letter in 2010. Seven years later, after growing pressure, Adobe finally announced they have end of life plans for officially sunsetting the tech. That plan keeps Flash on life support until 2020.

Despite the many issues with Flash and an industry that mostly veers away from it, major companies still have flash reliant websites. Even major streaming websites, like Hulu, still require users to install Flash. One of the biggest reasons for this almost 10-year transition was that there just wasn’t better tech available a few years ago – HTML5 still had some limitations. This led to a major stall in the transition process for most publishers. Another reason for publishers continuing the use of Flash was that it worked, so they did not have an incentive to change. This led many sites to put off the switch.

Now that HTML5 has caught up and surpassed Flash, we are seeing more and more websites making the switch.

How is the transition affecting publishers’ video advertising revenue?

The challenge for publishers has been having to make an ‘all or nothing’ choice between Flash and HTML5 when some of their ads fall in one category or the other. Video players and outstream formats can easily be configured to use HTML5, however, historically the challenge created utilizing HTML5 standards for video ads means Flash VAST / Flash VPAID ads will not be compatible. Likewise, when utilizing Flash, any HTML5 VPAID ads will not be compatible.  This holds back the HTML5 transition as critical inventory is not enabled for HTML5 delivery and continues to force buying platforms to utilize Flash based ads. More importantly, this means that publishers will miss out on revenue from incompatible video ads.

Until it is finally buried, how can publishers minimize its impact?

The most important thing is to understand the amount of ads that are Flash and would be lost in transitioning to HTML5 only support. If there is a significant number of Flash ads, the publisher should consider a hybrid technology capable of loading both Flash and HTML5 video ads until their advertisers have fully transitioned to HTML5 video ads. LKQD Fusion is a technology we developed to provide a single tag solution for publishers to run both HTML5 and Flash video ad creatives.

How does LKQD Fusion technology work?

LKQD FUSION works by providing event communication and functionality ‘bridges’ between Flash and HTML5. This means that a publisher running video content via Flash is not restricted to only Flash ads, and vice versa, a publisher running video via HTML5 is not restricted to only HTML5 ads. This helps them during the period of industry transition.

With LKQD Fusion, publishers can tap into all advertisers, regardless of whether they have transitioned to HTML5 or still use flash. It gives them the power to plug in a single tag to run both flash and HTML5 video ads across any desktop player, enabling them instantly maximize ad opportunities and increase your revenue, regardless of your configuration.

In closing, as the industry continues to undergo this transition, publishers need to be flexible by adopting a tech solution, such as LKQD Fusion, to quickly and easily access both Flash and HTML5 ads. Until HTML5 becomes the only standard format, publishers can ensure they maximize revenue opportunities by utilizing technology-based solutions to make all their inventory available to all advertisers.