OMG Initiative Calls For Industrywide CTV Standards

Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is officially launching an initiative to drive industrywide uptake of a new set of standards for connected TV (CTV) advertising inventory, identity and fraud-prevention practices.

Last year, U.S. ad spend in the channel increased 4.6% year-over-year, to $9 billion, and spending growth is projected to reach nearly 50% this year, to reach $13.4 billion.

That makes it critically important that the industry tackle “fundamental flaws and gaps” in CTV’s infrastructure, stresses OMG.

The problems include a lack of linear TV-level transparency; an inability to understand audiences at the household level across partners; and a measurability gap “that translates to an open invitation to cyber criminals who are generating millions in ad fraud,” says OMG's call to action document.

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While some providers have offered siloed responses, scalable solutions have proven elusive, it adds.

"The category is growing, but so are the concerns about safety and transparency that make clients resistant to shifting spend into CTV," OMG North America Chief Activation Officer Megan Pagliuca said in the announcement. "Unless we as an industry — agencies and marketers, platforms, publishers and providers — adopt shared standards to mitigate the barriers to investment, these issues will increasingly undermine CTV ROI, and erode the marketer confidence that is fundamental to long-term category growth." 

Savvy clients “have been shifting their TV budgets into a more holistic video strategy for years," adds Geoffrey Calabrese, OMG North America chief investment officer. "The beauty of connected TV is that it's a way for marketers to have a true like-for-like channel to enhance their linear TV reach — but they're going to put that investment primarily with partners that can provide them with buying signals that match back to what they're already seeing in linear.”

The Connected TV Signals Standardization Initiative is proposing recommended protocols and practices for inventory, identity and fraud-prevention.

Inventory: Standardize “nutrition label”

The group is calling for standardization of the “nutrition label” for management of CTV ad inventory, including:

*Integration of show and placement level details including show, channel, genre, and pod placement.

*Collaboration with third-party verification companies to validate the ad content being sold.

*Standardization of these metrics through governing body frameworks such as the updated IAB Content Taxonomy 3.0.

Identity: Protect individual and publisher data

On the identity front, Omnicom is calling for:

*A transition to household IDs, standardized through an industry governing body framework.

*Collaboration between buyers and sellers in data clean rooms to connect first-party audiences.

*A phase out of non-privacy safe identity signals, such as IP addresses.

Fraud: Supply-chain transparency measures

These recommendations include:

*Improved supply chain transparency and SSAI (server-side ad insertion) signatures through implementations of the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.cert 2.0.

*Integration of the IAB Tech Lab’s CTV Open Measurement SDK (software development kit) to allow better measurement across the ecosystem.

*Collaboration among devices, platforms and services on increasing fraud telemetry data, such as anti-fraud SDKs and device attestation (objective evidence of a secure environment) protocols.

The initiative already has support from players including AMC Network, independent sell-side ad platform (SSP) Magnite, and bot detection and human verification company Human (formerly WhiteOps)*, according to OMG.

*Note: OMG initially said that the IAB Tech Lab had affirmed its support, but later said that that statement had been premature.

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