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Many of the big players have followed suit - Firefox blocked Flash after discovering major security issues, and Facebook's security chief called for Adobe to eliminate Flash content once and for all due to these same security issues.

Apple is also well aware of these security problems and have excluded Flash from various products. These issues are the reason behind a clause in its iPhone developers' Terms of Service agreement that prohibits Flash from appearing on the iPhone.

Since 2010 Apple’s OS X operating system has been shipped out to distributers without Adobe Flash Player pre-installed, and out of date Flash is blocked in Safari (Apple’s web browser), requiring users to use the latest version of the plugin to avoid security vulnerabilities.

Amazon said it would no longer accept any Flash ads after September 1st, and from September 2015 many of the common online media platforms in New Zealand have refused to accept the old Flash banners, all of which suggests Flash really is on its way out.

HTML5 Format:

As a result of Flash’s demise animated advertisements need to be set up in HTML5 format. The code required for HTML5 depends on the site it is served to - many websites don't have the technical infrastructure to serve their own ads, and rely on third party online advertisement serving companies to put those ads on publishers' sites.

Third party companies report on how many times an advertisement has been served, the number of clicks associated with the ad, the resulting conversions, etc. Of course, they also charge for serving the ads to the appropriate sites. 

Implications:

This shift has direct implications in terms of the cost of placing ads. The costs involved in executing HTML5 ads are significantly higher due to the external cost of the third party server, the internal time required for the coding, and the time taken to set up files specifically tailored for each site.

We’re still working with providers to confirm the exact implications of the third party hosting charges. Currently charges will be made up of a set up/management fee as well as a ‘per impression’ charge.

Estimated costs are $900 for set up/management fee and a $0.25 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) charge. These costs apply each time a new campaign is sent to the hosting company.

Alternative Solutions – GIF/Static:

In order to achieve moving or changing imagery without adopting the HTML5 format, GIF can be adopted. One limitation is that, in order to keep file size down, GIF only allows for 256 colours to be used in the artwork. This may sound like a lot, but JPEG images can store millions of colours. When a number of images are used in the GIF file, the image quality of the final advertisement is compromised. However, GIF files are quicker and easier to set up and require no third party hosting. The GIF file format is supported by all major and minor technologies, and makes sharing to multiple sites much easier.