OpenAP and Programmers March Toward Multiple Currencies, Form Joint Committee

The assembly will create measurement certification and a unified streaming viewership dataset

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The currency revolution will be televised.

Today, OpenAP, along with Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, Warner Bros. Discovery and the VAB, announced the formation of the first U.S. Joint Industry Committee (JIC) to enable multiple currencies. The committee will primarily focus on creating a measurement certification process to establish the suitability of cross-platform measurement solutions ahead of the 2024 upfront.

“We’re very excited about the formation of this because it’s the first time that the industry has really come together,” John Halley, president of Paramount Advertising, told Adweek. “There are principles of currency that need to be in place and adhered to for any of these new measurement providers to become standardized in the ad market.”

The state of currency has been in flux since the Media Rating Council stripped Nielsen of its accreditation for national and local TV measurement in 2021. Nielsen later announced it would replace C3, TV’s standard metric for commercial measurement, by fall 2024, meaning that all currencies on the market (including Nielsen’s latest offering, Nielsen One) would be new.

“The world is going to change in a year and a half, and we’re in a transition state now to new currencies,” Halley said. “We think about the formation of JIC as really an accelerating mechanism to surface all those things and put some order around that process.”

The JIC isn’t a replacement for the MRC and its auditing capabilities. Among the organization’s key initiatives, the JIC will establish and maintain a measurement certification process in partnership with the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB). This will be housed inside of the JIC for third-party measurement vendors conducting cross-platform premium video currency services and be operational by the 2024 broadcast year.

In collaboration with the VAB and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the JIC will help accelerate progress made to measurement calibration by both parties, as well as with other industry trade bodies such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Advertising Research Foundation.

The newly established committee will also create a programmer dataset to enable third-party measurement vendors by harmonizing streaming viewership data brought together by OpenAP infrastructure, engaging a third-party audit firm to verify the streaming viewership dataset accuracy to maintain measurement independence and neutrality.

OpenAP first launched five years ago, and Krishan Bhatia, president and chief business officer at NBCUniversal, praised the consortium’s track record of building platforms; its existing infrastructure, particularly with the clean room developments with Snowflake; and its ability to enable data integrations and create uniformity around advanced advertising and data targeting on both the buy and sell side.

“Both the existing relationships and the trust, as well as the ability to execute with a platform that has already made investments in the infrastructure and the integrations that will be required, is what brought this to bear so quickly,” Bhatia said.

The JIC has already begun efforts to develop measurement certification standards, and it’s given itself an ambitious delivery timeline, with standards being announced on March 1. The JIC will also host an event on April 25 to share a look at its multicurrency progress.

“They are ambitious,” Bhatia said about the JIC’s self-appointed timelines. “And at the same time, I think we all feel like enough progress has been made and enough alignment already exists.”

Bhatia explained that ongoing publisher programs, including NBCU’s Currency Council, a group of top brands across major holding companies transacting on new currencies, gave the new JIC “a running start,” allowing the committee to operate with a sense of urgency.

Moving toward a multicurrency future

With all the companies involved believing in a multicurrency future, coming together to create an industry standard was a relatively easy process, according to Bhatia and Halley.

“If there’s a narrative that we want to unwind, it’s that NBC is an iSpot shop and Paramount’s a VideoAmp shop. We’re both working towards enabling both of those things in addition to Comscore and Nielsen One,” Halley said. “The idea here is that, as publishers, we need to support whatever the currency choice is for the advertiser. That’s the future that we’re getting into.”

Besides delivering on its ambitious timelines, the committee will look to expand its membership to other qualified premium video programmers and elicit participation from ad agencies and qualified trade bodies in the coming months. As a requirement, these programmers must represent premium long-form video content and agree to the same guidelines as the existing partners, including sharing first-party streaming data.

“I think that much of the story is written in the headline,” Halley said. “Just to highlight, a lot of work has already been done in terms of infrastructure, thought leadership, measurement evaluation that’s going to go into this, and I think we’re going to start to see some real progress very, very quickly.”

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