Ready, Set, Download: The Association for Downloadable Media Releases Essential Industry Standards for Consumer Downloaded Content

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Trusted Standards to Buy Advertising Across Myriad of Programming

The Association for Downloadable Media (ADM), established to focus on best practices for monetizing consumer-downloaded content, has announced the release of its first ad unit standards and audience measurement guidelines for industry compliance. The Download Measurement Guidelines and Advertising Unit Standards are available now at

The first of its kind, the ADM audience measurement guidelines reflect a defined approach to assist advertisers and sponsors of audio and video podcasts, distributed digital content including web and mobile downloads, with criteria to measure listener/viewer numbers. The ad unit standards are the first in a series of formats that content producers can offer to monetize their shows so that buyers can run the same creative across many individual shows and various networks. Having ad standards in downloadable media allows media campaigns to scale across hundreds of thousands of offerings.

"In The Podcast Consumer Revealed 2008 study derived from the Arbitron/Edison Media Research Internet and Multimedia study - podcast consumers are extremely attractive advertising targets and the industry is seeing a significant surge in listeners who knowingly select a program (rather than passively consuming whatever is available via traditional media), downloading it and potentially moving it to a portable device. This enhanced level of engagement with the programs and hosts of the shows they select may translate to an increased credibility and level of trust for the show's sponsors and advertisers.

The ratified guidelines have been accepted by the ADM Ad Council, a special fourteen-member interactive advertising agency liaison group, which acts as a sounding board for the ADM committees. The Ad Council group insures the ADM standards and guidelines dovetail with prevailing digital advertising best practices.

The Advertising Unit Standards include three kinds of formats - Insertions, Content Participation and Collateral. The units outlined in the document are the most common set of existing formats in use today by sponsors and content producers. The ADM has plans to innovate new formats in the future, but this initial version of the Standards serves to organize the common set to make it most available to buyers industry wide.


Definition: A separate ad file that is attached, inserted, or edited into an audio or video podcast.

Time: Up to :10, :15, 30 or :60 seconds
Location: Pre-roll; mid-roll; post-roll

Content participation

Definition: When an advertiser's message is included as part of the audio or video podcast content.

1. Underwritten Sponsorship
2. Scripted Live Read
3. Talking Points
4. Host Endorsements
5. Product Placement / Product Discussion
6. Sponsored Interstitials
7. Special Episodes
8. Advertorials / Interviews
9. Infomercials


Definition: All the other real estate that a podcaster has that may be included as part of an advertising or sponsorship package, or as separate items a lá carte.

1. Show notes on podcast website
2. ID3 tags in podcast episode file
3. Album Art Cards
4. Link and banner in enhanced audio podcasts
5. Overlays, underlays in video podcasts
6. Web banners, buttons, text links, hyperlinks (using IAB standards)
7. Email sponsorships
8. Press Releases
9. Product sales (CDs, DVDs, merchandise)
10. Signage/Outdoor (for retail)
11. Brochures, flyers

Chair for the Advertising Standards Committee and National Podcasting System founder and CEO Brian McMahon stated: "The ratified standards encapsulate a long history of advertisement units that are applicable in the downloadable arena. This provides publishers, advertisers and agencies with a solid footing and shared vocabulary for value and monetization opportunity."

Because there are two ways a content creator can get access to audience data, the ADM now recognizes two types of effective measurement techniques, Native Server Measurement or Third Party Measurement. Both are approved by the ADM in providing accurate data when complying with the standards parameters:

Native Server Measurement (NSM)
The Native Server is the actual end point where the media is hosted. Native Server Measurement refers to the log files derived from the Native Server. It may include the amount of data that was transferred in each log entry, and therefore may provide information to derive more than simple download statistics.

Third Party Measurement (TPM)
A Third Party server is the intermediary between the Native Server and another Third Party Server. Third Party Measurement refers to the files measuring the initial download requests as received by a third party server to be delivered to the requester. Because the Third Party server is a constant, it may uniformly measure download statistics across multiple hosting services.

Download Measurement Committee head, Angelo Mandato, CIO of Raw Voice, Inc. added: "The ADM has worked closely with the very organizations that will embrace these measurements ensuring they can be easily applied and replicated across the industry by any creator or aggregator of downloadable media. It is our goal to be the cornerstone of measurement practices and the just released standards represent only the beginning of the available opportunity for both the buyer and seller."

The Association for Downloadable Media is committed to advancing its charter: creating a landscape favorable to the commercialization of portable media. The ADM's focus includes revenue generation from advertising and sponsorships of audio and video podcasts, (aka vidcasts, or vlogs), and other digital content distributed via RSS, ATOM, peer-to-peer, mobile devices, downloads from Web sites and other platforms to come.

About the ADM
The Association for Downloadable Media is focused on providing standards for advertising and audience measurement for episodic and downloadable media. The organization's constituents include individual podcasters, media companies, publishers, syndication companies and distributors offering downloadable media, advertising agencies, marketers, technology suppliers, hardware and software manufacturers of portable media products and services, market research firms and audience and advertising effectiveness measurement companies. Through our volunteer membership, we provide leadership in and organization of advertising and audience measurement standards, research, education and advocacy to all those involved in portable media (Podcasts/ATOM/RSS media enclosures) across the Internet, iPods, MP3 players, mobile devices, P2P and other upcoming platforms.


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