Media giants Fox, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros and Paramount unite on video measurement standards

Advertising firm OpenAP creates first industry committee with major national programmers in the US to focus on premium video currency and unify measurement across platforms.

National programmers Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, Warner Bros. Discovery and the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) today have formed a Joint Industry Committee (JIC) with advertising company OpenAP.

The initiative creates a measurement certification process for cross-platform measurement solutions, unifying a streaming viewership dataset in advance of the 2024 ‘upfront’ advertising sales period.

The upfront is the traditional practice of buying and selling TV advertising time months in advance. Traditionally, these deals have taken place in the spring of each year, involving ad spots that would air in the coming television broadcast year.

“This is CEO-level priority,” posted Krishan Bhatia, President and Chief Business Officer at NBCUniversal. “We invite and expect other programmers to join this important effort.”

The programmers expect more of their colleagues to join the JIC. However, The Walt Disney Co. is currently not a member, nor are ad-supported streamers like YouTube or Netflix.

The JIC aims to solve the state of TV currency which has been unsettled since the Media Rating Council stripped Nielsen of its qualification for national and local TV measurement in 2021.

"2023 will be a year of the continued evolution of TV and CTV measurement," Ramsey McGrory, Chief Development Officer, at Medioacean said to PMW. "The JIC announced promises to address some of the most important issues."

A joint statement has been released from the CEOs of NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery: “The sustainability of the premium video advertising model depends on an ecosystem for measurement that is transparent, independent, inclusive, and accurately reflects the way all people consume premium video content today – across multiple screens, connections, and devices."

Ambitious deadlines for 2024 upfront readiness

With an ambitious start from the launch partners in January 2023, the JIC will fund key data initiatives to accelerate measurement innovation for third-party vendors.

Members of the committee have already begun to develop measurement certification standards, which will be announced very soon on March 1 2023. On April 25 2023, the JIC will host an event to share a first look at their progress in creating a multi-currency future and upfront readiness of measurement partners.

"It’s essential that efforts such as this JIC are successful," commented Jamie Barnard, CEO at Compliant. "As media fragmentation continues and web3 digital worlds evolve, these digital experiences will continue to operate on the open web using an ad-funded model – and ad-funded media demands cross-media measurement.

"Solving the challenge of interoperability will be critical as we move towards a more immersive web. But it’s also essential that we do so without compromising the lawful and ethical rights to consumer privacy. Solving this challenge will drive competition, provide a richer, independent media ecosystem, not limited to walled gardens, and be better for society as a whole. Addressing and automating ethical data governance at scale will be the key to unlocking this opportunity.”

In the coming months, the JIC intends to expand membership to other qualified premium video programmers. The JIC will also encourage active participation from advertising agencies and qualified trade bodies to advance the multi-currency future in this collaborative forum.

“By coming together to establish this JIC, we can collaborate and accelerate the efforts to implement a new multi-currency future that fosters more competition, inclusivity and innovation and will ultimately better serve advertisers, agencies and consumers," read the statement from Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal; Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount; Wade Davis, CEO of TelevisaUnivision; and David Zaslav, President and CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery.