Comscore, iSpot, VideoAmp pass first phase of JIC ad currency certification

Measurement companies Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp have each secured conditional certification as currency for TV ad buying and selling by the U.S. Joint Industry Committee (JIC), an initiative formed earlier this year to help standardize and usher in multiple cross-platform currencies as TV viewing and advertising undergoes changes amid a fragmented ecosystem.

Conditional certifications means the three vendors each scored high enough in the JIC’s first phase of analysis to be considered transactable. Now they move on to the data evaluation phase, after which, full certification is expected to be awarded in early 2024 to those who pass.

To secure conditional certification companies had to receive a score of at least three in every category outlined in a scoring rubric, created with input from both media buyers and sellers, that was detailed by the JIC in June. It includes weighted evaluation across eight categories such as cross-platform, big data, tech & infrastructure, interoperability, privacy, and transparency, among others.

Certification as a cross-platform currency could entice more companies to tap the measurement vendors, which have emerged as challengers to Nielsen as the ratings giant faced industry scrutiny over accuracy of its data.

Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp were among the companies invited by the JIC to submit requests for information (RFIs) to be evaluated, alongside Samba TV, Innovid, and 605. Nielsen was also invited but the incumbent measurement provider declined to participate in the OpenAP-led effort. The JIC formed in January with the backing of the Video Advertising Bureau and leading media companies, including Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery, though Disney remains a notable absence. A+E, AMC Networks, Roku and Hallmark Media, as well as major buyside agencies and groups also signed on to develop the baseline set of requirements and scoring process for JIC certification.

The JIC through its certification efforts also aims to leverage more data and address issues like transparency as the industry seeks accurate and reliable cross-platform measurement.

Samba TV, Innovid, 605 not moving on to second phase

Notably, Samba, Innovid and 605 did not secure conditional certification, meaning they won’t be moving forward into the data evaluation stage.

An OpenAP spokesperson told StreamTV Insider that companies that didn’t receive the necessary scores can either choose to reapply if they want to be certified as a currency, or instead choose to participate in a new and separate measurement certification track that will launch in 2024.

Vendor 605 was just acquired by iSpot and is no longer seeking JIC currency certification as an independent entity. 605 will support iSpot’s currency and certification efforts, as mentioned in the acquisition announcement, they work to integrate 605 data and identity solutions with iSpot into a single offering that utilizes “a unified data spine and technology infrastructure for all measurement and currency offerings.”

For Samba TV and Innovid, it appears as though the measurement companies won't seek to be certified as a cross-platform currency but will continue to participate in the JIC.

In the case of Innovid, Dave Helmreich, chief commercial officer, in a statement congratulated the JIC on its first step, but said the company isn’t pursuing a currency strategy or focused on multi-platform currency as a business and “as such, did not expect to be selected as part of this process.”

He noted its platform InnovidXP is used by brands and agencies to measure converged TV performance against business goals, and by publishers to show the value of their investments and inventory.

The COO went on to say that Innovid is “currently in CEO-level conversations with OpenAP/JIC about a possible non-currency related partnership” and would share more at a later date.

Samba TV, meanwhile, in statement said it remains “a valued member and supporter of the JIC and its mission” and plans to use its data to support or augment future-certified currency providers.

“Samba TV is not seeking certification as a linear TV currency but is seeking recognition and certification as the provider of high-caliber, representative, first-party TV and OTT data to future-certified audience currency providers in addition to being a provider of industry-specific, outcome-based measurement solutions for the marketer, agency and publisher ecosystem,” Samba TV stated.

That could mean participating in the forthcoming measurement certification track in 2024, which is meant to complement the currency certification. The JIC is still defining focus areas for measurement certification with more details expected next year, according to the OpenAP spokesperson, adding that like the currency framework, it will involve a list of baseline requirements needed to be met for a provider to secure certification.

“The intent is to work with providers who can provide measurement insights throughout the campaign process, from planning to execution through to cross-platform measurement,” the spokesperson said.

They added that the JIC encourages vendors to take part in the measurement certification if the organization believes the solution has potential to add value to the JIC’s forthcoming Streaming Data Service. Companies that receive and maintain full currency certification status and those who get measurement certified also get access to the JIC Streaming Data service, which is set to launch in beta next year.

As for the three vendors that are on the path to currency certification, if successful, their certified status will be granted on two-year term spanning the calendar year, after which they’ll be up for recertification and subject to further audit and evaluation within that window.

“We applaud the efforts of all companies who leaned in with the JIC’s currency certification efforts and participated in the RFI stage. Throughout the process thus far, it is clear that -- while there is still work to be done -- we are moving closer to having more currencies that are commercially ready for scalable transactions across both buyers and sellers,” stated the JIC.