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CBS, ABC to Stream Content to iPad; Advertisers Still Ponder Lack of Flash

CBS and ABC have inked deals with Apple to stream TV shows free of charge to users of the iPad, complete with commercial breaks - similar to the way they stream on the networks' own websites. CBS will stream shows through the iPad's Web browser, while ABC will stream shows via an iPad application, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Allowing for streaming video directly on the iPad allows users to bypass the iTunes store, while giving Apple free content to offer users. Apple has been working hard to boost sales of TV episodes in advance of iPad’s launch, in particular by trying to convince media companies to reduce their pricing for television shows from $1.99 (for most shows) to 99 cents, but many companies have balked at the price adjustment, feeling it devalues the content. (via MediaBuyerPlanner).

These pricing issues - which are also playing out in the e-book category - though, pale in the comparison to the problems caused by the lack of Flash.

Need to Develop Non-Flash Ads Could Speed Mobile Ad Market

The iPad does not work with Flash technology, which many media companies use for their web video. Advertisers, too, tend to use Flash elements within their online video ads, meaning those features need to be rebuilt to work on the iPad.

With the iPad tablet, a new approach to advertising on mobile devices could be developed, some analysts say. Because the iPad does not support Flash, marketers will have to develop brand new types of ads instead of repurposing existing web ads. This could potentially lead to an influx of new, innovative ad types that may be less invasive and pack more of a punch on mobiles.

Alternatives to Flash

There are signs this is already happening.

Rich media mobile device platform Greystripe has announced that its iFlash ad units will be available for the iPad in May, according to the Register.  "The company's proprietary iFlash technology already takes a customer's existing Flash-based creative and transcodes it into a form that can run on the iPhone and iPod touch, and now, it will do much the same on the iPad." Also Brightcover announced it will support HTML5 for the iPad, thus bypassing the need for Flash.

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