IAB Takes Over Open Video View Initiative, The ‘Standard Before The MRC Standard’

ViewabilityCodeA year before the Media Rating Council (MRC) released its baseline definition of video ad viewability (at least 50% in-view for two consecutive seconds), a group of video vendors and agencies had formed their own initiative dubbed Open Video View (OpenVV).

Founding consortium member TubeMogul, along with Innovid, BrightRoll, SpotXchange and LiveRail, developed standards in 2013 to create consistency in the video container and source code.

On Monday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said it would take over the OpenVV group, with the IAB’s Tech Lab shepherding future developments.

It’s all about bringing standards building process under one roof, said Scott Cunningham, head of technology and ad operations for the IAB and GM of its Tech Lab.

“We’re not interested in recreating the verification signals that the MRC is accrediting vendors, but we do want to create consistent containers as they’re deployed so we’re putting the appropriate controls in place to help mitigate these discrepancies,” Cunningham said. “It comes back to consistent deployment, so we’re eliminating, frankly, too many variables.”

OpenVV was designed as a baseline to get to a point where any two measurement firms deliver approximately the same numbers for a given set of impressions, and establish a common currency.

Although the MRC’s definition of video viewability was technically the very first iteration of a video viewability standard, Cunningham and others say there is still a ton of work to do, considering most video buys still fall in the 30% to 40% viewability range, not an idyllic 70% to 100%.

And the surge of mobile video supply brings new challenges, according to Vijay Balan, head of client services for LiveRail.

“As mobile usage continues to grow, so do different environment types such as mobile website [and] feed (which a lot of content sites are moving toward by inserting ads between content), as well as in-app,” he noted.

A priority for the IAB Tech Lab is ushering along standards in a faster and more efficient way than deploying clunky PDF files of requirements to disparate engineers and ad operations managers, which yields a patchwork of interpretations.

“Historically we probably haven’t done a really good job putting resources against these standards to evolve them as quickly as the market needs them,” said Cunningham. Hence, the development of the Tech Lab, which will oversee how technology is deployed beyond simple definitions for OpenRTB, VPAID, MRAID and other standards.

Next stop: bringing in a director of certification as the IAB erects later this year what Cunningham describes as a “third-party auditing pillar,” so companies can stack up their own deployment progress and compatibility with the IAB’s definition of MRAID, for example.

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