US Joint Industry Committee unveils criteria for TV currency certification

TV media buyers and sellers have taken a first go out nailing down criteria for certification of cross-platform currencies for premium video, with the OpenAP-led Joint Industry Committee (JIC) on Monday releasing a baseline set of requirements needed for measurement tools to be transactional.

The goal of the JIC, formed in January, is to build a set of unified criteria for cross-platform measurement certification of currencies and to aggregate the data needed for streaming to be used for both planning and posting across multiple programmers. The JIC will introduce a certification program and aims to have multiple cross-platform currencies certified and suitable ahead of the 2024 upfront.  

The JIC formed with support of programming heavy hitters including A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Fox, Hallmark Media, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. One notably absent media company is Disney, which has not been involved in the JIC.

Joining in the effort to create the baseline requirements are streaming platform Roku, as well as leading buyside advertising groups and agencies including Dentsu, GroupM, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, Publicis Media, Omnicom Medica Group, and RPA. The VAB is also involved in the JIC.

“Standardization across all measurement currencies is critical for our ability to scale a multicurrency future, and the infrastructure we create must work for both buyers and sellers,” said executives from the buyside agencies in a joint statement. “The announcement of the JIC's initial set of requirements for cross-platform transactions is the first step toward creating a future for video advertising that reflects how people are consuming video today. We believe it will ultimately spur competition and innovation in measurement.”

The JIC’s formation is against the backdrop of changes in the measurement environment, as buyers and sellers look for accurate and advanced measurement of video audiences and advertising amid an increasingly fragmented viewing (and measurement) landscape that spans services, devices and delivery methods. It’s also as traditional Nielsen ratings remain under scrutiny and the vendor continues to work toward reaccreditation by the Media Rating Council after being suspended in 2021 related to undercounting.

Nielsen was among the measurement companies that the JIC requirements were communicated to on March 1, along with Comscore, iSpot, SambaTV, TVSquared, VideoAmp and 605, all of which were formally invited to participating in the forthcoming JIC measurement certification program.

Even though OpenAP is working to create unified currency certification requirements, the aim is a multi-currency future and programmers involved in the JIC still make their own decision around which providers to work with, meaning they haven't committed to using JIC-certified vendors and might choose to work with non-certified measurement providers. JICs are common in some international markets, where many operate as a currency themselves or are responsible for the measurement of media. But the U.S. JIC is different, according to an OpenAP spokesperson, in that the “the purpose and function is on the enablement of multiple currencies by executing a measurement certification and creating a unified streaming viewership dataset.”    

Other programmers have taken steps to certify currencies for their own use and transactions. That includes NBCUniversal which has certified iSpot as a cross-platform currency that can deliver on both age and gender, as well as advanced audiences, along with VideoAmp as an additional currency for advanced audience ad buyers. NBCU is also waiting on the release of Nielsen One to assess its readiness. Disney, meanwhile, which isn’t involved in the JIC recently disclosed building on a multi-year relationship with Samba TV for data to determine reach and frequency, while also participating in industry Alpha tests of Nielsen One.

Samba TV CEO Ashwin Navin in a statement said the initial JIC criteria is a positive step forward for measurement.

“The industry is rapidly moving towards a multi-currency world, and while we are still in the early days of the JIC, the conversation being had today is a positive advancement as we work to innovate more effective currency methodology for outcomes like in-target reach, deduplicated frequency, conversion, incrementality or omni-screen engagement that matter most to advertisers,” Navin stated.

JIC requirements

With buyers and sellers coming together to agree on requirements needed for new currencies to be transactional, the JIC’s first pass includes a focus on eight key areas.  The initial criteria is meant to be a living document that will be refined and expanded over time, and will provide guiding principles to inform a more detailed RFP will further determine what’s needed to achieve certification.

The eight categories and a few of their requirements include:

  • Big Data (Foundation of cross-platform viewership projections should have big data at the center with panels used for calibration; Nationally representative and fully inclusive of diverse segments; Measurement leverages digital streaming and ad exposure data provided by the JIC)
  • Technology & Infrastructure (Support modern technology such as data clean rooms; ID backbone built on scaled third-party ID sources available to buyers and sellers; Ability to source and deliver measurement data at ID level)
  • Interoperability (Facilitate high quality ID resolution that maximizes match rates; Baseline measurement for currency fully interoperable with other metrics; Metrices used in MMM [mixed media modeling] rely on robust and reliable media currency measurement, especially for CTV)
  • Privacy (Fully compliant with all privacy regulations with disclosure of consumer consent; Data collection done with standardized instruments available to all measurement partners)
  • Transparency (Full transparency into all datasets and methodology applied)
  • Governance and Transaction Flexibility (Currency should seek MRC accreditation; Standardization but flexibility to enable more than one metric beyond the standard; Ability to separately report out by inventory type (ie: premium video versus UGC or social)
  • Cross-Platform Measurement (Delivery of a robust co-viewing model that enhances cross-platform measurement; Ability to report narrow demos and broad demos either at persons or household level; Ability to size and post advanced audience segments)
  • Cross-Media Transparency, Media Integrations & Stewardship (Greater than 2 years of historical data for linear and 1 year for streaming/digital; Any methodology change that will systematically impact measurement must be disclosed 12 months before impact; Reporting of data granularity daily, flexible reporting of data ranges to build cumes across reach & frequency).

For the full baseline requirements, see a white paper here.

“From the beginning, we have been clear that buyers and sellers need to work together to build a more sustainable future for premium video advertising,” said David Levy, CEO of OpenAP, in a statement. “We believe that if we’re going to transform the way video is measured, the buying community must have a seat at the table in defining new standards. By reaching consensus on minimum requirements within this ambitious timeline, we are together demonstrating the significance and impact of industry-wide collaboration.”