Getting US TV companies together and on the same page to come together in their shared interest may sound like herding cats.

But, in 2019, David Levy found the door relatively easy to push on.

The CEO of OpenAP, a consortium through which several broadcast companies are teaming to make it easier for advertisers to buy across their channels, was speaking with Beet.TV about a new initiative to enable direct campaign buying.

Under its first iteration, the two-year-old consortium is the means through which Fox, Viacom, NBC Universal and Univision have harmonized how they define audience segments that are used by ad buyers who want to buy across outlets.

Recently, OpenAP made a step-change – launching an actual marketplace through which ad buyers can purchase data-driven TV ads across those networks from OpenAP itself, or else through buying platforms with OpenAP integrations.

Speaking with Jon Watts, partner at TV industry consulting firm MTM, for Beet.TV, Levy describes the challenge of unifying the partners.

“It was a lot easier than most people think,” he says. “I think there is a common need now with Facebook and Google out there – I think most people feel like that is the real competitor.

“There’s actually been an incredible amount of collaboration, camaraderie amongst the table, so that actually has not been as bad as most people think.”

Earlier in October, OpenAP unveiled its marketplace plan, after two years in which its primary focus was creating a common taxonomy of characteristics used to buy advanced TV ads across the different partners’ properties.

“You can come in and say, ‘I want auto intenders and I have a million dollar budget, and here’s the campaign flights that I want’,” Levy adds. “And you can actually get one plan back across close to 50% of all the TV inventory, across linear and digital, in one plan.

“All you’re doing is going in and setting your audience and you’re getting back one campaign, instead of having to work with multiple networks. Instead of having to define your audience and onboard it across multiple networks, you just go into OpenAP, define it once and you can get your plan back.”

This video was produced at the Beet Retreat leadership event hosted Publicis Media in New York. The event and video series is sponsored by FreeWheel and LiveRamp. For more videos from the event, please visit this page