CBS, Comcast, Disney and others form addressable advertising standards group

The standard will define baselines for ad delivery, impression verification and privacy compliance. (Project OAR)

TV maker Vizio and several media companies including CBS, Comcast and Disney are part of a new group dedicated to developing an open standard for addressable ads on smart TVs.

Dubbed "Project OAR" for Open Addressable Ready, the group will be working on technical standards for TV programmers and platforms looking to serve targeted, relevant ads within linear and on-demand video feeds. Besides Disney's Media Networks, Comcast's FreeWheel, NBCUniversal, CBS, Discovery, AT&T’s Xandr, Turner, Hearst Television and AMC Networks will be a part of the effort. Inscape, the TV ACR (automatic content recognition) data company owned by Vizio, will take the lead on developing the technology.

"We all recognize the most important goal of this initiative is to drastically enhance the TV experience for people at home," said William Wang, founder and CEO of Vizio, in a statement.

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"Project OAR aligns well with FreeWheel's objective of supporting the industry to deliver scalable, addressable advertising solutions that will help make television an even more valuable platform for brand marketers. Bringing an addressability standard to smart TVs nicely complements solutions already available from MVPDs," said Dave Clark, general manager of FreeWheel, in a statement.

Jodie McAfee, senior vice president at Inscape, said the standard will define baselines for ad delivery, impression verification and privacy compliance while still giving networks and programmers room to experiment with formats and creative.

"We are making this flexible enough to enable interactivity and other bells and whistles that have yet to be imagined,” McAfee said.

Vizio said standard is being developed so it can be deployed on its footprint of connected TVs, but that the protocol will be open and designed to enable any internet-connected TV maker and connected-device company to use it. Development is now underway and the group aims to have a working product to show off by spring 2019 with full deployment targeted for early 2020.