Today’s column is written by Jane Clarke, managing director and CEO at the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM).
When buying a product, the cashier scans the barcode, and the name and price of the item pops up immediately, no matter the store or where the item came from.
That UPC code stays on the item throughout its time on the shelf. As a result, a set of Sony headphones will always be identified as a set of Sony headphones.
We don’t have a similar industrywide code in the media and advertising ecosystem. There are standard asset identifiers for both ads and entertainment content via Ad-ID and entertainment identifier registry (EIDR), but until recently, there was no open and persistent method for binding these identifiers into video assets.
That is closer than ever to changing. At the recent National Association of Broadcasters conference, CIMM, Kantar Media, Ad-ID and EIDR introduced the TAXI Complete initiative to advance adoption of Kantar Media’s audio watermarking technology for persistent binding identifiers into content.
The technology has recently been standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. A second standard was also just published that binds timestamps and up to four distributor IDs into layers in the same watermark. This allows for full tracking of the ad or piece of content.
Embedding standardized identifiers throughout the media ecosystem will significantly improve the efficiency of cross-media workflows for ad agencies, media companies and marketers. It will enable faster reporting for ad verification and audience measurement, which will eventually help marketers better optimize live and on-demand advertising, as they do with digital advertising. It will bring the entire media ecosystem closer to real-time measurement.
Many inefficiencies in the linear television audience measurement workflow could be vastly improved if we could immediately identify a piece of content or ad displayed on a TV, set-top box, metering device or smartphone app. This technology can bring efficiencies and innovation to these workflows.
It is now incumbent upon both advertisers and TV content producers to implement standardized video asset identification throughout their ads and content. Once the ads and content are registered with Ad-ID and EIDR and the identifiers are embedded into the videos, innovation can begin. Register and embed once; innovate endlessly.
It may seem like working together to set standards is antithetical to an industry that prioritizes proprietary technology. But by having everyone go about it their own separate way, we risk true innovation from taking flight.
Open standards are the building blocks upon which new technology and features can be built. This won’t hinder customization but will instead help proprietary approaches flourish. Adopting standardized master metadata for ads and content will make it quicker and more accurate to identify each, enabling new capabilities in the same way as the UPC code.
Adoption of this open standard technology will spur new potential media products in audience measurement, cross-platform measurement, interactive services, content tracking, second-screen applications and more.
But it can’t happen until media companies and advertisers begin the process by registering video assets and embedding the identifier in the video. The entire ecosystem will benefit, but we need to start now.