TRUST, A New System That Spots Online Ads With Rights Problems

Not only are there millions of ads flying around online video sites, there are the actors who appear in them, and sometimes those appearances violate contracts, because these are TV commercials being seen elsewhere. Or it can be a violation of terms because the contract has expired.

Last week, Extreme Reach, a video advertising management and delivery solutions provider based in Needham, Mass., introduced a tool for uncompensated agencies, brands and talent that can capture all that data and wave the red flag.

For now, it’s an open-platform solution that everybody can use free of charge, although there is a better version that comes for a fee.

The new Talent and Rights Usage Safety Tracking Tag, or TRUST  makes it possible to get real-time verification that digital video ads comply with talent and rights contract terms. Mistakes about those rights are surprisingly frequent (because there are possibly tens of thousands of contracts out there), and not so surprisingly, expensive.

“Our research across the board has revealed that over one-third of the TV commercials that run online are not compliant with the terms of the talent and rights agreements established for those commercials,” said Tim Hale, Extreme Reach’s chief talent officer, in an email conversation.

“We've also researched the costs, fines and penalties incurred as a result.  Whether the issue is late payment, breach of contract, or use beyond expiration, it's clear that compliance issues are costing advertisers and/or their agencies millions of dollars per year in unexpected costs.”

As anybody who has spent a year or so in the communications business can tell you, internal communications is not its strong suit.

Hale explained that “because of disconnected workflow or miscommunication, a large number of commercials either pay talent late or accidentally use a commercial past its expiration date.” The part of an agency that deals with the TV end of contracts may not fully communicate with the online folks. You get the idea. Hilarity ensues.

When they run a commercial past that date, agencies or publishers are subject to hefty fines from SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ unions that has begun paying a lot of attention to screw-ups like that.  And when ads run thousands of times online -- that’s not at all unusual -- those fines mount.

“We've seen numerous cases costing hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Hale wrote. “Those are the ones that affect jobs, agency relationships and advertiser reputations.”

Extreme Reach’s TRUST tag cross-references ad impression data against contract terms to ensure everything’s copacetic.

And as explained, it works a lot like other digital ad tags that provide verification, analytics and fraud prevention, so, Extreme Reach says, “ it’s easily compatible across ad servers, publishers and other media vendors.”  It tracks across Internet, mobile and other connected media and analyzes and verifies in in real time. If there’s a mistake, it’s reported.

Extreme Reach offers, “for a small CPM charge,” an expanded TRUST service that it says, addresses compliance issues “more proactively,” and offers provides greater control and additional capabilities.

"Our main focus right now is on achieving scale. This is a brand new product and a relatively new issue in the digital video ad world, so there’s an educational component we still need to work through,” a spokesman said. “As clients begin to understand the value of our free version, we expect to generate interest in our upgraded version.”

pj@mediapost.com
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