Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

TV Aims To Standardize Addressability

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It seems like every week a new digital threat is coming after traditional TV’s audience and ad revenue.  While the networks and cable operators still have scale on their side (at least for now), the lack of audience data puts them at a severe disadvantage compared to the OTT streamers.  TV’s counterpunch to this data gap is addressability, which is supposed to provide back end audience data on viewers so marketers know who they’re reaching.

While the concept of addressability is valid, there are two main problems plaguing today’s system.  The first is scale – to date only about a quarter of the US TV audience is considered addressable, which forces the networks to use data models for probabilistic targeting, which is vastly inferior to 1-1 deterministic targeting.  The second problem is a lack of standardization, since all the networks have their own definition and data standards for addressability.  Without a consistent standard of what data comprises an addressable viewer, TV advertisers and their agencies are forced to cobble together a patchwork of pseudo-addressable buys, which undercuts the effectiveness of the entire system.

To solve these issues a consortium of the largest networks have come together to create Project OAR (Open Addressable Ready), which will establish one technical standard for addressability across all linear and on-demand TV platforms.  This is similar to the Open Source SDK initiatives publishers have used for years to solve for things like viewability.  The networks hope Project OAR will have a similar effect of standardizing addressability across the industry, which will simultaneously drive up addressable scale and give buyers the data confidence they need to invest more in traditional TV.

Yesterday’s Project OAR announcement was just the “what” broadcasters are planning to do.  What comes next is the “how” – that’s when we’ll see implementation details and a timeline.  Overall I think it’s a smart and maybe even overdue idea.  Now we’ll see if the networks can pull it off.

 

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