Project OAR Expects To Begin Live Campaigns Before Year's End

2021 is increasingly looking like a breakthrough year for smart-TV addressable advertising.

Project OAR — one of two industry initiatives working to enable television networks to deploy addressable advertising on their inventory nationally — expects to have some ad campaigns go live before the end of 2020.

That’s the word from Adam Gaynor, vice president of network partnerships and head of addressable at Vizio, the smart-TV manufacturer that also owns the data company Inscape and a year ago started an ad sales group, Vizio Ads.

Project OAR, a consortium of networks, ad-tech companies and agencies led by Vizio that was launched in March 2019, began the first phase of a live test to enable addressable ads for linear and on-demand video on smart TVs in June. That phase’s participants included Fox, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, E.W. Scripps, and AMC Networks, according to Forbes. A second phase that began in August included Disney Media Networks, Discovery, Hearst Television and WarnerMedia.



“A number of network partners are actively testing and trialing now, and I believe we’ll go live with a campaign or two before the end of the year,” Gaynor reported during a BIA “Future of OTT” webinar panel held this week.

Project OAR, which had targeted a mid 2020 launch prior to the pandemic, now expects to have a network of 10 million households with Vizio smart TVs ready to roll for deploying addressable inventory by year’s end.

“What Project OAR is all about is enabling networks to bring addressability to their inventory,” Gaynor said. “And that’s an important piece in the discussion about addressability in OTT, because as television viewership changes and how people watch television continues to change, the networks themselves have to figure out how to reinvent.”

That reinvention “is not as simple as ‘Let’s take our content and put it on an AVOD platform’ — it’s about understanding how to deliver content to consumers and also about how to deliver ads for advertisers,” he continued. “And linear addressability really helps to bridge linear and streaming because it’s bringing the KPIs and the capabilities of digital to a television system that for the most part hasn’t changed in the past 50 years.”

“So we’re very encouraged by the number of networks that are leaning forward on this and actively doing what they need to do to get ready. We’re very excited about what 2021 is going to bring.”

The industry’s other addressable initiative, Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising, or AVA, launched in February 2019, has network participants including A&E Networks, AMC, Discovery, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Univision, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia.

AVA, which initially planned to launch in Q4 to 15 million households with LG Electronics TVs, began a two-phased beta test in January. Nielsen extended the test period until the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.

According to Mitch Oscar, director of advanced television strategy for USIM, who moderated the BIA panel, the AVA plan now appears to call for a launch in 1 million households during 2021’s first quarter. (Nielsen confirms this.)

Look for more on the BIA panel — which also featured executives from Samsung, Sinclair Broadcasting, Comscore and TVSquared, and discussion of addressable OTT issues, including measurement and attribution — next column.


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