OpenAP’s future was looking bleak in April when WarnerMedia, which had created the audience targeting platform two years ago with Viacom and Fox, pulled out of the consortium.
But instead of falling apart, the platform has grown—adding David Levy as its first CEO in May—and continued to evolve, rolling out the OpenAP Market, which is now an open marketplace with premium video advertising inventory and audience-based buying across digital and linear television programming.
Initially dubbed OpenAP 2.0 when it was first announced in April, the OpenAP Market offers advertisers cross-publisher audience segments for both linear and digital video.
Marketers can use OpenAP Market to create an audience segment, define their goals and increase reach. The market, which launched in a closed beta last month and is now available to all advertisers, connects directly to agency planning systems and approved demand-side platforms with standard APIs.
When Viacom, WarnerMedia and Fox created OpenAP two years ago, the platform was built out of the idea that “the traditional way that we are transacting needed to change and evolve so that we can get a lot more efficient with consumers’ time,” Levy said. OpenAP was “just defining standards, that was great, but then the marketers still needed to go to each individual publisher and transact and get separate reporting and separate billing, and the campaign proposals weren’t unified so you couldn’t tie all those things together, and it was just linear.”
OpenAP Market helps “create more efficiencies so that agencies could come, define their audience once, define what goals they’re actually trying to hit and then back get one unified proposal across all screens and across all publishers,” Levy said.
The CEO expects OpenAP Market to be used in two primary ways. In the first, members will work with direct sales teams to build out a campaign and define an audience segment, and then use OpenAP to increase their reach across other publishers.
“If Toyota or Verizon builds a campaign with Viacom, now they’re able to take that campaign and actually see how they could increase their unduplicated reach, how they could increase the proposal to help benefit some of their goals by extending that exact same campaign across the other members,” Levy said.
In the other use case, marketers can go directly to OpenAP instead of a specific publisher’s sales teams, define their segment, build their campaign and receive a unified proposal across linear and digital against that one audience segment. “Previously that might have taken weeks to actually pull together for an agency,” Levy said. “You can now do that in hours.”
Levy, who co-founded TrueX Media, became OpenAP’s first CEO in May, after serving as chairman of the consortium’s board since the previous September.
After WarnerMedia, which had created OpenAP two years ago with Viacom and Fox, pulled out of the consortium in April, the other companies involved—including NBCUniversal, which signed on last year—said in a joint statement that they remained “committed” to OpenAP. (Univision is also a member of the consortium.)
A week later, those three companies doubled down on the platform, announcing that OpenAP 2.0 would be available in time for the fall.
Now that OpenAP Market is up and running, Levy said the company will be focused on getting more agencies on board and introducing more data sets, including set-top box data.
But for now, Levy isn’t focused on bringing additional publishers into the fold.
“We are not actively out pitching new members at the moment,” he said. “Our focus is going to be execution right now, and probably later next year, we’ll look towards having more direct conversations and negotiations with publishers. Our doors are always open, but it’s a little bit further down on the priority list for us.”