OpenAP Makes Room For Smaller Networks, And The Weather Channel And AMC Hop Aboard

The Weather Channel and AMC Networks said Tuesday they have joined OpenAP, where national broadcasters can provide targetable audiences for advertisers.

Both broadcasters will make their entire slate of national linear and OTT inventory available through OpenAP. Media buyers negotiate with the networks directly and activate through OpenAP, which normalizes audience definitions, day parts and targeting across member networks.

OpenAP’s ranks also include NBCUniversal, Fox, Viacom and Univision. The company, which launched in 2017 as a consortium between Turner, Fox, and Viacom, is now opening up its platform to smaller networks as it shifts its business model. The company previously used to charge networks a membership fee but now charges a transaction fee for demand facilitated through its platform, said CEO David Levy.

“What benefits the buy side is sophisticated, scaled and centralized products,” he said. “The membership model doesn’t scale to accommodate a variety of publishers.”

AMC Networks, which is expanding its content distribution this year across multiple streaming and OTT platforms, saw OpenAP as an opportunity to let ad buyers reach its viewers wherever they watch AMC content, said Evan Adlman, SVP of advanced advertising and digital partnerships.

“Everyone in today’s world is purchasing media in different ways,” he said. “It’s our goal to build out as many connections with platforms as we can to allow marketers to choose how they want to buy our content.”

The Weather Channel joined OpenAP to bring targeting and automation across its platform to buyers for the first time, said Barbara Bekkedahl, president of ad sales and client partnerships.

“We really haven’t had the capabilities to create a platform ourselves,” she said.

With AMC and Weather on board, OpenAP now covers 60% of national TV ad revenue and is approaching 100% coverage of US households.

“It gets to a place where regardless of the audience target, we can put together a very compelling proposition that you can’t get anywhere else,” Levy said.

While OpenAP’s platform offers targeting and unified reporting across its member networks, it’s not fully automated. TV networks still want full control over their inventory and the ability to screen which brands are able to advertise with them.

“We still hold the direct relationship with the media buyer,” AMC’s Adlman said. “A big part of us doing these deals is that we have exclusive sales right to the inventory.”

This year, OpenAP aims to build more interoperability with agency-owned data platforms. The company is building its API infrastructure to connect into agency platforms, as well as making it easier to syndicate their audience segments into OpenAP and measure across networks.

“What they want is very bespoke to that agency and how their data infrastructure is set up,” Levy said. “We’re trying to enable the partnerships with networks that agencies want.”

As OpenAP scales, it’s also trying to standardize how audiences can be targeted across linear TV in a way that’s easy for buyers to access.

“We didn’t go buy or build our own walled garden because we believe that we should be where the viewers and buyers want to be,” Adlman said.

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