Fox, NBCUniversal, Viacom Prepare Automation for Advanced Ad Sales


Fox, NBCUniversal and Viacom have announced that the newest version of their OpenAP platform, OpenAP 2.0, developed in collaboration with Accenture and FreeWheel, will be ready to go live in time for campaigns in autumn of this year.

By unveiling OpenAP 2.0, the rival programmers revealed that the upcoming iteration includes significant upgrades to the advanced audience platform, turning it into a “centralised premium video marketplace,” which includes workflow automation for national linear and long-form digital video.

This is an important update for ad buyers as it means they will now be able to access the OpenAP 2.0 marketplace to purchase traditional and digital ad inventory from participating networks.

Cross-publisher analytics will be available to advertisers, affording them a unified view of their advanced audience campaigns. The automated system also will provide in depth, pre-campaign performance estimates as well as post-campaign delivery data, including campaign reach, audience impressions and cost-per-impressions.

For agencies, access to the new marketplace is straightforward. Media agencies’ planning systems, as well as some automated ad-buying programs, will be allowed to integrate with the OpenAP inventory via application programming interfaces (APIs).

This evolution is a major evolution of the original OpenAP system, which was created to answer advertisers’ demands for data-driven, TV ad-buying capabilitiesOpens a new window . It was designed to allow ad buyers to target specific audience segments, such as frequent restaurant goers or pregnant women.

The major issue, though, was that ad time couldn’t be bought through that version of the platform.  Rather, transactions had to be made directly, and individually, with each network.

This new platform solves that issue, giving advertisers the capability to analyze at a granular level the effectiveness of their ads across participating networks.

Executives from Fox, NBCUniversal and Viacom described their upgrade in a joint statement: “OpenAP was the TV industry’s first open platform for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent third-party posting, and this is a major step in furthering our mission to bring the industry together to make audience buying more transparent, consistent, and effective.”

As Krishan Bhatia, executive vice president of business operations and strategy at NBCUniversal, explained, these developments are aligned with the industry’s increasing adoption of advanced advertising. Bhatia argues that “the combination of that reach and scale” of OpenAP 2.0, coupled “with the level of automation for linear TV in particular is a first.”

Indeed, this new and improved OpenAP system is a push by TV programmers who want to provide their advertising clients with transparent, open ad buying systems that can compete with the services offered by their digital media rivals.

Yet, while a significant step in the right direction, the platform has its limitations. Notably, many of the major programmers aren’t part of the network, so advertisers will have access only to ad inventory from participating networks.

For instance, one of the founding members, WarnerMedia, recently pulled out of the groupOpens a new window . Meanwhile, CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co., parent company of the ABC broadcast group and other cable channels including ESPN, are not part of OpenAP.

And a platform based on a commitment to open advertising standards – and enables programmers to purchase TV time within the Open AP system – shouldn’t push them outside to complete transactions on their native trafficking programs.

Nevertheless, OpenAP 2.0 fills an important gap in the TV network ad buying space by establishing a marketplace for premium advertising inventory with its many industry partners. In fact, it’s indicative of a new movement within this segment as TV programmers seek to incorporate advanced advertising capabilities in their service offering.

“Advanced targeting, transparency and simplicity are critical to our clients. OpenAP enables advertisers access to advanced audiences at scale with the highest quality TV content available across screens,” said Marianne Gambelli, president of advertising sales at Fox.

Emphasizing the point, Linda Yaccarino, chair of advertising and client partnerships at NBCUniversal, says that “with competition rising in every industry, marketers need new ways to define their audience and engage viewers across all platforms. Expanding OpenAP can help turn that vision into a reality.”