A direct relationship with owners of television advertising inventory is one of the core premises behind Project OAR, which hopes to develop an open standard for addressable ads on connected TV’s. “As long as there’s someone in the middle, there are levels of complication that just won’t make this work,” says Jodie McAfee, SVP of Sales & Marketing at Vizio’s Inscape unit.
The Open Addressable Ready consortium announced in March is the result of Vizio having watched a number of companies try to bring more scale to addressable TV, McAfee says in this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
“There are a lot of technical challenges with someone being in the middle of that conversation and then there are also a lot of business challenges. As long as there’s someone in the middle, there are levels of complication that just won’t make this work.”
OAR membership includes both inventory owners and platforms, ranging from CBS, Disney and NBCUniversal to AT&T’s Xandr and Comcast’s FreeWheel.
By seeking an open standard, Vizio decided against “trying to force the entire market to jump into a single stack and adopt a single solution,” McAfee says. Given that “NBC’s going to want to use FreeWheel, WarnerMedia’s going to want to use Xandr, Disney has their deal with Google,” allowing flexibility “is the only way you’re going to get to scale.”
Vizio sees itself as stewards and OAR members as owners. “They’re the ones making the decisions and we’re just building everything to their requirements.”
McAfee notes that most addressable TV execution to date has been through MVPD’s. “We think there’s a complementary ability to generate more scale on live linear,” McAfee says, hence the inclusion of companies like Comcast and Xandr. “We bring incremental reach to all of those players and scale is absolutely critical to addressable. There needs to be more and there also needs to be more premium linear inventory in that bucket for addressable.”
McAfee says he’s old enough “to have watched multiple consortiums in our business not go very well. I think as a group we’re beneficiaries of good timing in that I think the television stakeholders in our business understand that they need to work together to succeed.
“And so far our meetings have been very collaborative, everybody’s leaned in pretty hard on the subject matter and everybody’s cooperating. So I’m really encouraged by that.”