With the advent of more and more publishers looking to adopt InStream format’s and investigating Pre-Roll opportunities alongside Mid and Post-Roll, the question of standardisation is beginning to emerge.

But beyond the size of the player which is the most obvious question, I want to pose another question equally as pertinent. Is it about time the MPU 300×250 ratio was hauled in for an overview?

The MPU was a great concept, being nearer to a TV shape or a piece of paper allowing many traditional assets to find a natural shift to the online arena. Consequently, it was quickly adopted as the standard norm for most publishers. Though many results can be heralded as a result of this format, it is not without its limitations.

It’s the same shape and size of TV

Or is it? Certainly in times gone by the 4:3 ratio of screens was the norm. But the 16:9 ratio has been with us for the last 8 years, and most Television adverts are now shot in this format. In case of film, it is even more exaggerated as the ratio is generally 2:1. This means black bars in 300×250 MPU, proving equally annoying online as on the TV – by wasting precious screen real estate. One look at most screens these days, whether TVs or laptop monitors, and the question arises – isn’t this near-square shape a design of bygone years?

It’s the same shape and size of a piece of paper

The A4 Landscape size of 297×210, when scaled proportionally, would result in 354×250, not 300×250 dimensions, so you are equally losing a lot paper-equivalent real estate when you adapt to online advertising. The web is fast moving from a text-based information source to a video-based entertainment environment. To do this successfully, sites will be redeveloped to accommodate lead stories including video, as opposed to mere photos in-page. Therefore finding a size that fits advertising for both in-stream and in-page would allow advertisers and publishers greater flexibility for switching assets around no matter where they need to be included. Sure it may be a short-term upheaval, but we have been there before and we gained huge ground.

A new MPU+ format, adding width and bringing it inline with 16:9 ratio can be nothing short of fantastic news, and may allow us not to depend so much on user expansions for valuable screen real estate.

444×250 would be a true representation of a 16:9 ratio. Or, if you feel that is too wide, 355×200. Even if we wanted somewhere in the middle of paper and screen, a 400×250 creative would be far more sensible and reduce those black bars to a size that could be filled with video controllers.

Even if we want to change, adopting a wider size of an MPU on page would still allow an interim period of serving both formats on the page until the new size unit took on more gravitas of its own.

While we are at it, lets give it a decent name. No one can ever agree what MPU stands for anyway – lets just call it what it is – a ScreenBox

Have your say now, what do you think should happen?

  1. Keep it as 300×250
  2. Change it to 444×250 (true 16:9)
  3. Change it to 355×200 (true 16:9)
  4. Change it 400×250