OpenAP took another major step today to assure the industry that the audience targeting platform remains stable in the wake of WarnerMedia’s exit last month, by naming David Levy as its first CEO.
Levy—not to be confused with former Turner president David Levy, who exited that company in February ahead of a major WarnerMedia shakeup—has served as chairman of the consortium’s board since September. He is the co-founder and COO of TrueX Media, and after Fox bought the platform in 2015, he became evp of non-linear revenue for Fox Networks Group.
“OpenAP was formed to rise above competition and create solutions that will change the way our entire industry functions,” said Levy in a statement. “There’s so much work to done, but we’ve made incredible strides and we’re going to continue to develop the transparent audience-based cross-platform buying solutions that we need to operate. I’ve been deeply involved with OpenAP since its inception, and I’m thrilled to now be taking on a larger role within the organization leading OpenAP’s efforts to revolutionize the advertising ecosystem.”
In a joint statement, Meredith Brace, Fox’s evp of client solutions and portfolio marketing; Krishan Bhatia, NBCUniversal’s evp of business operations and strategy; and John Halley, Viacom’s evp and COO, ad solutions, said: “We recognize that standardization and collaboration—across measurement, targeting, and more—is critical for our individual businesses and the entire industry, and that’s why we’re doubling down on our commitment to the future of OpenAP. If we build together, we are all stronger, and OpenAP embodies this spirit. David Levy has stewarded OpenAP since its creation, and we’re honored to have him now join us as CEO to help shape the new era of audience-based media buying. With David at the helm, the future of OpenAP—and of the industry as a whole—looks very bright.”
OpenAP’s future was called into question last month, when WarnerMedia, which had created the platform two years ago with Viacom and Fox, pulled out of the consortium. “As our company has transformed, our advanced advertising strategy has evolved,” said a WarnerMedia ad sales spokesperson.
The other companies involved—including NBCUniversal which signed on a year later—said in a joint statement that they remained “committed” to OpenAP. A week later, those three companies doubled down on the platform, announcing that OpenAP 2.0 would be available in time for the fall.
“This was an important initiative for all the companies that started it, and we know that the industry is evolving beyond age and sex [demos] and going to more targeted demographics,” Marianne Gambelli, president of ad sales for Fox Corporation, told Adweek earlier this week.“We know we have to automate the system and use data, and OpenAP is set to do that. We believe in OpenAP.”
Just two years ago, Fox, Turner (later renamed WarnerMedia) and Viacom joined forces to create OpenAP, an advanced audience platform standard for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent measurement. The three companies had spent a year developing the platform in order to address industry concerns that audience targeting was too complicated, wasn’t scalable and lacked a third-party auditor.
Their hope was that OpenAP would become the industry standard for audience targeting and that all television publishers would embrace the platform.