Migrating to a World Without Flash

Sue Hunt, Managing Director EMEA, Tremor Video

You’ve likely read much swirl about the blocking of Flash lately, and are probably wondering what it means for your video advertising campaigns across devices.

The entire rich media advertising space was originally built on Flash. It provided the only way to display animations back in the late 90s, when developers were still figuring out how the internet worked. Flash has never worked on mobile, and since the debut of the iPhone in 2007, consumers have increasingly migrated, and rapidly, to mobile devices likes smartphones and tablets.

Without a version of Flash that played nicely in a browser, this left room for HTML5 and rich JavaScript, which are native to browsers, to catch up to the capabilities of Flash. On top of that catch up, Flash has experienced major security issues over the last decade, so it’s now been a little outgrown.

With a growing number of key technology players now deciding to disable it to boot and/or simply call for its demise, it feels like the beginning of the end for a technology that has contributed quite a bit to the world in the last two decades. Change is never painless or quick enough for some, but now that HTML5 and/or rich JavaScript can do what Flash does, but better, the market has other viable options.

It really comes down to getting people to let go of Flash. It will certainly cause a nervous scramble at first among content developers (websites including those focused on gaming, and ad creative agencies) to transition, but HTML5 and rich JavaScript — which are native to browsers — are more than capable of filling the void. Google did a lot to spur innovation in this area via its pioneering use of ajax (asynchronous JavaScript xml) in Gmail circa 2005, and it’s continued to advance in the last decade.   YouTube, which initially built its whole business on the back of Flash, also stopped using it in January. But there are definitely developers that are going to be caught off-guard and there are people working overtime now because they’ve to yet make the switch. In the short term, consumers who depend on this content may temporarily have to switch browsers. In the mid-to long-term, nothing changes.

Without Flash, the web will be more efficient, stable, and safe. Content developers who depend on Flash (websites, game sites, video sites, ad creative agencies) and have not transitioned off will be scrambling to migrate from Flash to HTML5. Those that have already embraced mobile technology and seen the consumer shift to new platforms and devices, have been working through this migration for a while.

If you haven’t already begun the transition to a non-Flash environment, find the smartest person you know on HTML5 and rich JavaScript, and get started. Lean on your partners or anyone you depend on to deliver your ads or content, and make sure they are making the same transition to an HTML5 and rich JavaScript environment. None of this affects brands’ campaigns or content, just how it’s delivered, so you can make a swift adjustment to a world that is easily accepting of all screens.

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