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Ad-ID and the New SAG-AFTRA Contract

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

By Harold S. Geller, Chief Growth Officer of Ad-ID

When the Commercials Contract negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the ANA-4A’s Joint Policy Committee (JPC), representing the advertising industry, concluded a few weeks ago, by all accounts the negotiations were successful for both sides.

Among the changes agreed to between SAG-AFTRA and the JPC is a mandate for universal adoption of Ad-ID, the industry standard for identifying advertising assets across all media platforms. The agreement to the mandate is a critical step in advancing the joint SAG-AFTRA/JPC Clearinghouse Initiative that will provide cross-platform identification standards across all media in which union talent appears.

This Ad-ID mandate is not only a good thing for the union, but for the media and entertainment ecosystem and the advertising supply chain.

Since its introduction in 2003, and reinforced when I joined in 2007, Ad-ID has been at the center of cross-disciplinary initiatives, with the goals of creating consistent and standardized industry business practices and improved interoperability, and reducing rekeying and cross-platform complexity.

Since the announcement of the mandate on April 24th, the Ad-ID team has been diligently following up with agencies and advertisers to make sure that they come into compliance with the mandate, and understand the value that Ad-ID brings to the supply chain. There has been a mix of quiet compliance, procrastination, and vocal opposition.

The most common misconception is that Ad-ID is all about avoiding duplicate codes. Although this may be a side benefit of adopting a standard asset registration process, it is not the core objective. Ad-ID is a “Domain-Specific Registration Authority,” which is a body given the responsibility (in our case by 4A’s and ANA) of maintaining lists of codes and their associated standardized information (metadata) which is required for the exchange between trading partner systems (interoperability), and issuing new codes to those needing to register them.

In advertising, the metadata about an ad is the advertiser name, brand name, product name, commercial title, and commercial length. This is being shared today, but in an analog manner. This information about ads gets rekeyed at least 20 times (and potentially spelled differently each time) in different systems from the time an advertiser tells its agency to produce an ad through to the time the ad completes its useful life and is archived for historical review.

Now that I’ve have cleared up some misunderstandings about Ad-ID, allow me to share some of the achievements of the Ad-ID team, and the supply chain initiatives that are the core of increased efficiency and productivity in advertising:

1. The Advanced Media Workflow Association has developed a “Digital Commercial Slate” based on the information in Ad-ID.

2. The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement released a report intended to spark widespread adoption of Ad-ID.

3. In advance of the mandate, the JPC reported that there is inconsistent use of commercial identification, and advocated the adoption of Ad-ID.

4. There have been five technical white papers written on the topic of media and entertainment interoperability, by members of the Ad-ID team and others, which included references to Ad-ID and its role in interoperability.

5. Extreme Reach has integrated their systems with Ad-ID.

6. DG has announced plans to integrate their system with Ad-ID.

7. CableLabs has included Ad-ID in video-on-demand advertising specifications.

8. There are active conversations with the Interactive Advertising Bureau about Ad-ID and the ad serving process for online video and display banner ads.

9. There have been two standards issued for the magazine media industry by IDEAlliance that leverage Ad-ID.

10. Ad-ID was awarded the Media Magazine 2012 Vendor of the Year Award for “creating innovation in the industry.”

It is time to realize that advertisers, agencies, media, and our respective production, automation, measurement, and technology vendors are part of a supply chain.

Marketing efficiency enables us to shorten the supply chain, reduce waste, and improve productivity. A fundamental key to supply chain efficiency is to make everything digital. Ad-ID is the foundation of digital workflow throughout the marketing process. When fully embraced by the marketing industry, it will improve the accuracy of reporting and evaluation of advertising assets, affording process improvements and cost savings for everyone.

With an ever-expanding array of delivery platforms as well as targeted advertising, maximum efficiency for advertising workflows has gone from a nice idea to a must-have. The good news is that we now have the tools to make it all work, and registering our assets with Ad-ID is the easiest and most important starting point.

Supply chain excellence is when you do what you do best without duplicating what I’ve done, and everyone has participated in industry best practices and made way for the other members of the supply chain to work on what they do best.

The industry today is still focused on making sure that the advertisers get what they want when they want it and for the best price possible. Marketers are looking for innovation and process improvements that enable multi-platform campaigns and reduce cost while enabling interactivity and addressability, and improving cross-platform measurement. It’s time for the supply chain to have a substantive conversation about Ad-ID.