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Future of TV Media

OpenAP is getting its house in order – from bolstered dataset to updated membership fee

By Andrew Blustein, Reporter

July 17, 2019 | 6 min read

OpenAP – the advanced TV advertising consortium – is in “head down” mode as it prepares the October launch of its marketplace, what it dubs OpenAP 2.0.

David Levy, who was named chief executive officer of the group in May, said 1.0 was focused around data-driven linear and helping networks standardize TV buys beyond traditional age-gender demographics, and around advanced, more granular audience segments.

“1.0 was about standardizing the audience segment itself, enabling you to actually create that audience segment in OpenAP, and then share it with all of the members and get proposals back so you knew the segment was the same,” said Levy. “In 1.0 though, you were still… [calling] the network and working through proposals individually.”

OpenAP’s coming marketplace is meant to centralize that next step, allowing advertisers to upload campaign constraints and budgets around an advanced target audience – women auto intenders, for example – and then get a proposal back from each OpenAP member across linear and digital TV.

“You define an audience segment, and we'll get you a consolidated proposal back for a guarantee on an audience segment,” said Levy, adding that OpenAP is automating much of the workflow.

“This is all guaranteed inventory, audience-focused, but you're now buying it not necessarily for one network, but across all of them.”

Who is involved

Fox, Viacom, NBC Universal and Univision all make up OpenAP, while fellow publisher and founding member WarnerMedia pulled out of the consortium April.

“As our company has transformed, our advanced advertising strategy has evolved," a WarnerMedia spokesperson said at the time. "As a result, we are withdrawing from OpenAP. We appreciate what OpenAP has supported to this point in widening the adoption of audience-based buying on television.”

While not having “a ton” of resources, Levy said the group is looking to add more partners.

“We're having conversations with other TV networks,” said Levy. “It's really just when is the right time financially for them to come on board. I don't think there's really a lot of philosophical misalignment; it's just budget.”

Levy said OpenAP is changing its membership model. Right now, equity members pay $2.5m to join the consortium, followed by a $1.5m yearly fee. Participating members just pay the $1.5m yearly price tag.

“We are now changing that model to more align with the marketplace, and it's moving toward a more transactional fee, but we're not really sharing what exactly that will look like,” said Levy.

OpenAP consulted with Accenture and FreeWheel to develop its marketplace. The consortium is now bringing Dataxu on board as the data management platform underpinning OpenAP 2.0.

“If you now define auto-intenders [for example] with us, what DataXu gives us the ability to do is very easily create that segment and then syndicate it into all of our ad serving environments,” said Levy. "That enables us to get back a forecast so that we can actually create that optimized plan and guarantee it to the advertiser.”

FreeWheel counts all four OpenAP members as clients, and the Comcast-owned advertising company has a partnership with DataXu.

DataXu’s TV pivot

Levy said FreeWheel recommended DataXu because of their existing partnership, which all comes together to enable DataXu "to take any audience segment it defines, easily syndicate that into FreeWheel and enable us to pull together a forecast on future inventory immediately.”

Brought up in the online video space, DataXu is now focusing its attention on TV. The company’s co-founder and chief innovation officer Sandro Catanzaro said more than 60% of DataXu’s business comes from TV.

DataXu will be propping up its OneView platform to create advanced audience segments across linear and digital TV for OpenAP 2.0.

“OneView allows us to understand all different devices that are in the household,” said Catanzaro. “All these devices are now unified. Instead of seeing a tablet and a desktop and two TV sets, we see a household that has four devices within it.”

Having suffered through layoffs and rumored to be for sale, Catanzaro said that this partnership with OpenAP is “validation that we are moving in the right direction”.

“What we are doing is basically applying our original technology with a much larger application, because now we can reach consumers across all the different devices they own, and we can enable an advertiser to provide timely messaging to those consumers,” said Catanzaro.

The future of TV measurement

Levy said DataXu’s device graph will give OpenAP a “much larger sense of identity across our footprint's inventory”.

Identity will play a big role in advanced advertising as television becomes increasingly internet-enabled, the key shift in the TV landscape that has advertisers and publishers thinking full-scale addressability.

“I will be surprised that over the next three-to-five years we don't see 60%-80% of TV content delivered one-to-one,” said Catanzaro.

According to eMarketer, 56% of the US population uses a connected TV. That number is projected to rise to 60% by 2022, equalling over 204 million people.

Levy said devices graphs aren’t necessarily the ultimate solution, but they’re a “very important cog in the wheel”.

“Device graphs are very important when you want to talk about deduplicated reach across platforms and making sure that you are not just reaching the exact same people in each siloed environment,” said Levy, adding that device graphs are also important for measuring campaign effectiveness on the backend, such as who viewed an ad and what actions they took once they saw it.

Liveramp recently acquired Data Plus Math to dive into the advanced advertising space of guaranteeing campaigns based on more refined target audiences.

Liveramp called these secondary guarantees, ones that build off of traditional age-gender metrics that traditional players like Nielsen and Comscore offer. Levy echoed that, saying the traditional measurement companies will have a place in the future, but maybe not as the dominant players they once were.

“[Nielsen and Comscore] are the two predominant viewing sources that we use in OpenAP today," said Levy. “They're still a big part of this measurement solution, it's just as opposed to using them for an age-gender, we're taking [third-party data] and our first-party datasets, and we're matching that with viewership data they have.”

“I don't think it necessarily means that those folks are going away or there are any major threats,” said Levy, “but there are now a bunch more additional, incremental viewership data pieces to the overall picture, so we're now going to have a much more full picture of who the viewers are than we ever had before.”

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