IAB Tech Lab Unveils Roadmap for Standardizing TV Ad Measurement

IAB Tech Lab
(Image credit: IAB Tech Lab)

NEW YORK—At a time when advertisers, media companies and TV players are struggling with outdated measurement systems that poorly measure viewing and the performance of ads across platforms, IAB Tech Lab, the global digital advertising technical standard-setting body, is launching a new initiative to set technical standards to bring universal addressability to all TV environments.

"The TV advertising delivery, distribution, and measurement landscape is fragmented, creating significant friction within the supply chain. Just like consumers want a seamless viewing experience across streaming and traditional viewing methods, buyers want to be able to buy, measure, and reconcile in a holistic, transparent, and consistent way across all television environments," said Anthony Katsur, CEO, IAB Tech Lab. "At Tech Lab, we have spent the last year analyzing converging use cases between legacy and connected television, getting educated on technical standards across environments, and understanding the trajectory of TV viewing and media investment. We're confident this initiative will shepherd television buyers and sellers into the future."

Tech Lab's Advanced Television initiative encompasses all television environments. It’s objectives include:

  • Create the structure for streamlined and normalized reconciliation of TV buys across CTV, linear, and broadcast environments.
  • Establish a common technical framework for audience interoperability, universal addressability, and cross-environment frequency capping.
  • Develop open-source, auditable measurability for tracking ad creative across all platforms.
  • Further develop Advanced TV anti-fraud measures and more accurately account for viewability.
  • Standardize the foundation for an impression-based TV market and universal ad break management using frame-accurate ad break signaling.
  • Establish a common technical framework for omnichannel programmatic buying via upfronts as well as spot buys.
  • Introducing Video Watermark Technology.

In order to achieve many of the goals outlined by Tech Lab, Video Watermark Technology will be instrumental, the group said. Based on already developed ATSC 3.0 standards as a sustainable, long-term, glass-based, client-side technology, the A/335 Video Watermark can be used for multiple operations, such as viewability verification measurement and frame-accurate ad replacement to increase addressable inventory in linear media.

"The adoption of an open watermark standard is critical to achieving standardization across the myriad of channels and devices consumers use to watch TV. It will enable the industry to achieve interoperability, improve measurement, and bring greater efficiency to a converging TV advertising landscape," said Shailley Singh, executive vice president, product and chief operating officer, IAB Tech Lab. "As part of this initiative, we will define standard use cases, develop operational workflow guidance, and identify how watermark technology will work for each use case."

In addition to introducing video watermark standards, Tech Lab will also explore how an open standardized video watermark can enhance the use of current technologies like SCTE, ACR, OMSDK, and VAST across all TV delivery modes and all types of devices (Connected TV, set-top boxes, and personal mobile devices).

"There is immense value in developing technical standards and best practices to normalize data and create interoperability across all TV platforms," said Stephane Krzywoglowy, senior vice president, business operations & strategy, NBCUniversal. "Establishing interoperability across all distribution channels will streamline ad spend across any television audience, regardless of the delivery environment."

"VIZIO and network partners made incredible progress turning the concept of addressable delivery in linear for Connected TVs into a reality through our work with the Project OAR Consortium," said Ken Norcross, head of data licensing, Inscape, VIZIO's ACR division. "We are in support of the work the IAB Tech Lab is doing to broaden adoption for addressable advertising standards and are aligned with the mission of better, smarter TV advertising and the improved consumer experiences that come as a result."

IAB Tech Lab is calling on the industry to help steer the future of Advanced TV. To learn more about joining the Advanced TV Commit Group, email membership@iabtechlab.com. 

To view the Advanced TV Roadmap, visit https://iabtechlab.com/advancedTV (opens in new tab).

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.