TAXI Complete: The Media Industry’s “UPC Code” for Tracking Video Across Platforms

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Everyday video content and advertising are being served up to consumers across a complex array of video platforms, including linear/live TV, Digital Video Recorder (DVR), Video on Demand (VOD), Over the Top (OTT) and digital media like YouTube and Facebook. The proliferation of video outlets beyond the first screen has been a boon to consumers who can watch burgeoning content options available on myriad platforms at times convenient to their schedules. 

However, the video media explosion presents both opportunity and challenges for advertisers and purveyors of content. On the plus side, expanding video environments provide the potential to pave the way for innovative approaches to showcasing video content, creative advertising and targeting. On the downside, keeping track of how and where video content and advertising reaches consumers grows ever more complicated, compromised by executing video across so many outlets that may differ from both a technological and business entity perspective. For example, when political skits from Saturday Night Live are replayed on YouTube via smartphone, there are no common means to confirm that the same content ran on both screens. Alternatively, if a media agency places an ad buy for one brand with three Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), managing ad frequency across all three platforms becomes a challenge if the DSPs assign three different tracking codes to the same creative. The list of gaps in tracking content and advertising extends well beyond these examples and doesn’t even begin to describe future challenges of dynamic ad insertion, cross-screen interactivity and automated buying of cross-platform ad inventory. This situation fueled the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) to reach out to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to develop an industry standard to embed unique IDs into each distinct piece of content or advertising creative. When this initiative was launched in 2010, it was dubbed TAXI for Trackable Cross-Platform Identification. 

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