GABBCON (the Global Audience Based Buying Conference) launched last year, born out of a frustration with the lack of standards and shared vocabulary around audience buying for TV and video in particular, according to co-founder Gabe Greenberg, formerly of The Trade Desk and Delivery Agent. Greenberg, among others, felt the industry had moved at a glacial pace on the issue, and saw a need to address it.
GABBCON hosts conference events and meets regularly (as frequently as once a month via conference call, with sessions in between) to work on standards for audience buying. Its partners include heavyweights like DataXu, Hulu, TiVo Research, TubeMogul, AudienceXpress, CBS, Fox, Omnicom Media Group, IPG, IPONWEB, SpotX, Canoe, AdMore, AOL, Clypd, Neustar and iSpotTV.
Last week, the group held a one-day conference event in New York where speakers included a mix of agency, publisher and ad-tech execs like Shenan Reed, president digital North America, MEC; Dan Reiss, executive vice president of content partnerships at Turner; Doug Fleming, head of advanced TV at Hulu; Dave Morris, chief revenue officer at CBS Interactive; and Matt Spiegel, SVP/GM, data & technology solutions at MedialLink.
Greenberg said that while the Interactive Advertising Bureau also has a working group on the topic, GABBCON is moving faster and with all stakeholders in the ecosystem: media buying agencies, ad-tech vendors, marketers, DSPs, SSPs , broadcast and cable networks, publishers and advertisers.
GABBCON last week came out with version 1.0 of its Automated Linear Broadcast Cross Device Standard or (ABCDs), which aims to arm the advertising and audience-based buying marketplace with a standard and recommended practice for buying of linear TV inventory and cross-device measurement. It took three months to come up with ABCDs.
The challenges in creating standards are steep. Each SSP has its own protocol, and there’s very little similarity from one to the next. “We want to align as people did around the open RTB standard,” Greenberg told me.
One challenge is that TV can’t be activated in real time — but you can streamline buying, planning and optimization.
GABBCON is focused on taking deliberative and iterative steps. “The TV industry may not be able to move at the pace of digital,” Greenberg noted.
What can be automated in TV? For starters, inventory, in terms of what’s available by schedule and day part. Also, show-level detail, audience data to better inform who’s watching or may be watching, certain types of content, media planning and buying and optimization can all be automated. That’s exciting, right? And for some, it’s scary too. Hence, the focus on iteration.
Greenberg took pains to say that GABBCON isn’t meant to be a closed group, but is open and collaborative. “The more input, the better. We want and ask for feedback.”
The group is looking at APIs that SSPs have adopted to understand which pieces should be incorporated into a final version of an API, which will likely be released at GABBCON’s next events, either in April (Chicago), or May (Rome).