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As Social-Media Marketing Fails To Deliver, WarnerMedia Quits OpenAP Coalition For TV Ad Targeting (#GotBitcoin?)

Consortium of competitors loses a founding member, now under new ownership. As Social-Media Marketing Fails To Deliver, WarnerMedia Quits OpenAP Coalition For TV Ad Targeting (#GotBitcoin?)

WarnerMedia LLC is withdrawing from a coalition of rival TV networks that it helped form to foster more precise commercial targeting.

A lot has changed since the coalition, called OpenAP, was founded in 2017 by Turner, Viacom Inc. and Fox Networks Group. It gained a new member the following year, Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, bolstering organizers’ hopes of accelerating the rise of so-called advanced TV.

But AT&T Inc. also completed its long-planned purchase of Turner parent Time Warner Inc., renaming its acquisition WarnerMedia and dissolving the Turner operating unit. AT&T is developing advanced TV ad products of its own via its Xandr advertising group.

“As our company has transformed, our advanced advertising strategy has evolved,” WarnerMedia said in a statement. “As a result, we are withdrawing from OpenAP. We appreciate what OpenAP has supported to this point in widening the adoption of audience-based buying on television.”

Asked whether WarnerMedia’s exit from OpenAP reflects a preference to pursue advanced TV through Xandr, a WarnerMedia spokeswoman declined to comment.

The consortium’s primary goal was to standardize the precise categories for targeted ad buying, making it possible to buy TV commercials in the same category but on different networks.

More broadly, TV ad sellers want to be able to charge more for their most desirable audience segments and to better compete against the targeting available from digital media.

OpenAP said its other members will stay.

“Fox, NBCUniversal and Viacom remain committed to working together in pursuit of a premium, open, independently verified marketplace that will continue to transform the industry,” the group said in a statement. “Over the next few months, we will be growing and expanding the OpenAP platform to simplify audience buying at scale, and you’ll hear more from us on these exciting developments in the coming days.”

Some marketers want to put their ads in front of more narrowly defined audiences than TV traditionally offers, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at WPP PLC’s media-agency conglomerate GroupM. But others like what they get from TV now, such as the broad simultaneous reach that still exists despite long-term ratings erosion.

“For many brands, their goals are best satisfied by reaching as many people as possible,” Mr. Wieser said.

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