Omnicom Media Group’s Jonathan Steuer is encouraged by the emergence of solutions that “co-mingle” set-top box and automatic content recognition viewing data, the most recent example of which is FreeWheel Media working with Inscape.

At the recent FreeWheel NOWFRONT event in Manhattan, Steuer, who is Chief Research Officer, welcomed the “consistent effort across almost all of the networks and network groups to try to make advanced TV solutions work,” he explains in this Beet.TV interview.

This is in contrast to just a few years ago, when individual TV networks began to roll out their own advanced-targeting arrangements.

“Then we had OpenAP, which does not appear to be a force in the marketplace for this year’s UpFront,” Steuer says. “But every conversation we’re having with network groups involves some notion of trying to move or investment toward more advanced TV and other kinds of targeting and measurement, and we think that’s great.”

Omnicom has been using data from Vizio-owned Inscape “pretty deeply” for the past nine months and is currently working with VideoAmp to conjoin set-top box and ACR data. “I was pleased to see this morning that FreeWheel announced they’re doing the same thing with Comcast and Vizio Inscape ACR data.”

This is because set-top box and ACR data do different things very well, according to Steuer.

“ACR lets us get some read of both content and commercial exposure across sources so we can see both OTT and linear delivery in that data set. Set-top box data gets you every TV in the household, typically when people are pay-TV subscribers, but only gets you pay-TV subscribers.”

What still needs to happen is for MVPD’s and ACR providers to make their data available in a more “democratized” fashion. “But at least now we see steps in that direction, which is great,” Steuer adds.

Asked about a unified data platform that would serve much if not all of the TV industry, Steuer cites a “trust problem” with having any single vendor be the data aggregator.

“So what I think is going to have to happen is each of the data aggregators to find a way to make their data available in a linkable but segregated format.”

The end goal is the formation of a common set of data formats, pre-processing rules and linkage mechanisms.

“That’s the only way to evolve the TV business to compete in the world of walled gardens,” Steuer says.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of The FreeWheel NOWFRONT: Media Reimagined. For more coverage from the series, please visit this page.