The new iteration of OpenAP, the advanced audience targeting platform owned by Fox Corporation, NBCUniversal and Viacom, is officially open to all advertisers.
Called OpenAP Market, the 2.0 iteration of the marketplace — which had a closed beta program during September — is designed to enable unified, audience-based buying of premium video advertising inventory across digital and linear television programming, enabling previously unavailable scale in advanced television reach.
The solution offers the largest-available consolidation of premium TV programming delivered as both linear and digital, according to the announcement, “reaching more than 90% of all U.S. television audiences through its combined member footprint of 20 cable networks, three broadcast networks and a vast array of digital video.”
The entire digital and linear inventories of the OpenAP members, which also include Univision, were made available through the marketplace as of Oct. 1.
The original OpenAP, founded in 2017 by 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Viacom, was focused on helping marketers centralize some aspects of the complex process of reaching specific audience segments across various TV companies. It enabled consistently defined targeted segments, but marketers still needed to work out buys with individual television entities and deal with separate reporting and billing. Nor did the original version include digital properties.
The enhanced, transaction-based digital-plus-television OpenAP Market platform lets agencies define their audiences using the existing definition standard, then create a unified proposal across publishers.
“Two years ago, OpenAP was founded on the thesis that the only way for advanced advertising to truly scale was for TV networks to come together and collaborate to create new standards that would push our industry forward,” stated David Levy, who became CEO of OpenAP in May. “This launch marks a significant milestone that we believe will fundamentally change the way TV advertising is bought and sold.”
The marketplace is also, in theory, positioned to compete with Facebook, Google and the other giant tech platforms dominating the advertising landscape.
Its launch comes after WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner), pulled out of the venture in April due to its acquisition by AT&T, which is focused on marketing its own audience-targeting platform, Xander. At that time, the remaining parties in the consortium announced their commitment to the venture and their plan to expand its scope and capabilities.
The marketplace connects directly to agency planning systems and
approved demand-side platforms (DSPs) via standard APIs.
Buyers can create, upload and augment an audience, as well as collaborate with OpenAP to build or extend an audience (sans duplication) using custom or licensed data; define a single cross-publisher, cross-platform campaign and review one forecast of goals based on media plans from each network; and access unified, cross-network forecast insights for improved messaging and budget allocation planning, according to the platform.
“Advertisers can come to us centrally and buy an optimized deal across all the publishers, and do the billing with us, but they can also continue to work individually with the publishers,” Levy told Variety last month. “Those deals will still run through OpenAP, but all the billing will happen at the publisher level. It depends on how the advertisers want to transact.”
According to Variety, Levy also noted that becoming transactional “will turn the venture from an entity now managed by Viacom, Fox Corporation and NBCUniversal into a standalone operation.”
Standalone status, and a new business model, might be dictated by the practical difficulties that could be presented by several otherwise competing media entities, with their own business interests, selling ad buying services that involve pricing, optimization and other decisions, points out one veteran digital and linear television marketer.