TV consortium OpenAP launches an identifier for TV planning, measurement

OpenID will allow advertisers to use a single audience definition across major TV networks.

The media buyer’s dream is to have one common definition of an audience it can use across TV networks and programs, regardless of whether people are streaming or watching cable. 

That’s one step closer to happening. On Wednesday, advanced TV consortium OpenAP announced the availability of OpenID, a common identifier that can be used across TV networks for consistent audience planning and measurement. 

Previously, buyers not only had to create separate audiences for linear and CTV buys across one network, but also stitch together those plans across networks for a full picture of their audience. Now, buyers can create one audience using OpenID, paving the way for cross-platform optimization and measurement. 

“From the beginning, we've been trying to make advanced ad buying as simple as it is to buy 18 to 49 demos. Part of that is just getting the industry to work together,” said David Levy, CEO of OpenAP. “The fact that we now have every programmer on here, and you can create an audience and distribute it to any network, is huge.”

All of the major TV networks will accept OpenID into their buying frameworks, including AMC Networks, A+E Networks, Crown Media, Discovery, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Univision, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia and The Weather Channel.

On the buy side, GroupM, Dentsu, Omnicom Media Group, Haworth Marketing + Media and Horizon Media have committed to incorporating OpenID into their buying systems.

“[OpenID] provides less fragmentation across the ecosystem so we're able to better plan, buy and measure strategic audiences across a wide variety of supply,” said Mike Fisher, VP of advanced TV and audio at Essence. 

OpenID is based on TransUnion’s offline data set, powered by CTV data from Tru Optik, and is “representative of everyone in the U.S.,” Levy explained. OpenAP appends data from programmers to enhance audiences using TransUnion’s clean room technology.

Levy likened OpenID to creating crosswalks between different networks that enable a faster and more streamlined way to transport data. 

“You can create an audience [against] the ID for planning to send to the networks,” he said. “Before, agencies had to manually onboard that audience individually with each network, which could take three weeks.”

OpenAP censures privacy compliance and will not be impacted by the deprecation of third-party cookies, as cookies aren’t used in TV environments. However, the platform may lose mobile ID signals from Apple’s recent update regarding IDFA. 

So far, buyers are using OpenID to plan campaigns and execute buys directly with the networks. The next step will be to involve measurement providers to unlock different attribution use cases for clients, Levy said.

Frenemies

Arguably more difficult than creating the identity system was getting fiercely competitive TV networks to join forces. But as the buy side pushes the sell-side to be easier to work with, that’s becoming an imperative.

“The buy-side drove most of the adoption,” Levy said. “It was [due to] them vocalizing in a much bigger way that this mattered to them.”

Essence’s Fisher added: “Our goal is to make everything more accountable, addressable and targetable for clients, moving away from a model where we're trying to get as much reach as possible and hoping audiences are watching, to making more informed buying decisions.”

But banding together for more scale and interoperability is also beneficial to the networks, who increasingly view Google and Facebook as bigger competition than one another.

“The more we focus our sights on Google and Facebook, who, quite frankly, are working together in many ways to attack TV, the more we will see success,” Levy said.

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