The IAB Tech Lab update’s impact on video advertising: An overview

Blog 3 min read | Jan 31, 2024 | Francesco Montesanto


The IAB Tech Lab convenes industry professionals to enhance transparency and health in the advertising ecosystem. The Programmatic Supply Chain Working Group addresses business issues within the OpenRTB spec.


Previously, video content determined whether a player embed was classified as instream or outstream, but greater focus is now placed on the user’s intention to watch the content.

Redefining video placement categories aims to bring clarity, preserving the value of premium video content and accurately describing web video advertising.

What are the new definitions and values?

In March 2023, IAB Tech Lab made changes to their video definitions to help publishers and advertisers make a clear distinction between in-stream and outstream ad placements.

Non-compliant publishers risk decreased ad revenue as Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) adopt IAB standards for video inventory categorization. A new “plcmt” field is required by some DSPs from June 1st, 2023, for bidding on video inventory. Failure to comply may lead to DSPs not bidding on a publisher’s video inventory, impacting revenue.

According to the IAB Guidelines, there are 4 categories for the values allowed in the “plcmt” field.

1. In-stream

An in-stream ad is the primary focus of the page, and plays before, after, or during video content requested by the viewer. In-stream video players must have sound on by default. However, Chrome mutes players when there’s been no previous user engagement on the website, creating the need for additional criteria. Therefore, the player should also demonstrate explicit intent to watch the video to be classified as in-stream.

2. Accompanying content

Accompanying content plays before, after, or during the core video content on the page. The video player loads and starts playing upon entering the viewport, and can sometimes turn into a floating or sticky player as the user scrolls down the page.

These video player embeds are complimentary to the article but it’s not the main reason why the visiting user arrived on the page.

3. No content/standalone

No content or standalone ads play without streaming video content. For example, you can find them in native feeds, slideshows, or sticky/floating placements.

4. Interstitial

Interstitial ads play without video content and must be the main focus of the page. They’re not scrollable, occupying most of the viewport. Most of the time, these placements occur in contexts like in-app video or slideshows.

These changes mean that Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) will need to accept the new values. How JW Player integrates with your SSPs will determine how you transmit the “plcmt” value.

If you’re using JWP’s Player Bidding product to connect with SSPs, you can add the “plcmt” value based on how player bidding configurations are handled within your video player implementation:

  • JW Dashboard – A new setting for choosing placement type is available in the Player Bidding configuration section of the Ad Schedule page.
  • Page-level Player Configuration – The “plcmt” type should be inserted under a “ortbParams” node within the bids block in our player configuration. Please refer to the following guide for more details.

If you’re using different methods to manage a connection to SSPs, the method to send the “plcmt” value will depend on the integration:


The recent changes in video definitions by IAB aim to establish clarity between in-stream and outstream ad placements, crucial for preserving the value of premium video content and accurately describing web video advertising.