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  • Extreme Reach’s TRUST Tag Addresses Video Ads' Mounting Compliance Issues

    Online video advertising is booming but the vast majority of what we all see are still repurposed TV ads. That has created a huge new problem of monitoring and complying with the ads’ commercial usage rights. Non-compliance can result in significant fines from unions such as SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA and others that represent talent who appear in ads.

    To address this growing problem, video ad tech provider Extreme Reach launched TRUST Tags (Talent and Rights Usage Safety Tracking) last August. Extreme Reach’s CEO John Roland told me in a recent briefing that over 180 agencies and advertisers are now using the TRUST tag, which is free, and that the company has just launched its first ad campaign to raise awareness for TRUST.

    When the TRUST tag is integrated with an ad, then every time the ad airs on any screen, Extreme Reach’s database of ads and their terms is pinged in real time to check for compliance. Extreme Reach’s database is comprehensive and up to date because it already handles over 90% of talent rights payments to 120K+ actors totaling $1.2 billion annually, following its acquisitions in 2012 of Spotlight Business Affairs and in 2015 of Talent Partners.

    If an ad that runs is out of compliance, then the agency or advertiser will be notified. While the TRUST tags are free, Extreme Reach offers a 10-cent CPM service that will tell the agency or advertiser exactly where the non-compliant ad is running and what the problem is. The company also offers a 50-cent CPM “TRUST Guarantee” where the ads use Extreme Reach’s ad server and are guaranteed to always be in compliance.

    John said the company’s goal over the next couple of months is to have 500 advertisers and agencies using the TRUST tags, with several dozen at the 10-cent CPM level and a few at the 50-cent CPM TRUST Guarantee level.

    With an estimated 1/3 of all video ads running online out of compliance, Extreme Reach estimates that $75 million in talent and rights late fees and penalties was paid in 2015.  John said that numerous agencies have been fined in the 7 figures for non-compliance.

    Given the silo’d nature of digital vs. TV operations in agencies, often these agencies are not even aware of their non-compliance until it’s brought to their attention. While talent rights are well-understood in TV advertising, John believes that the vast majority of digital advertising professionals aren’t familiar with them and therefore do not focus on compliance.

    As viewership across screens continues to grow, along with online video advertising, inevitably there will be more attention focused on compliance. In fact, John said that negotiations are underway for a new contract between SAG-AFTRA and agencies for talent fees including the structure (per impression or flat rate) in digital distribution. It’s too early to tell where this will end up, but everyone is well aware of digital’s growing importance.

    To help explain the flow of talent and rights payments, Extreme Reach created a handy infographic which can be downloaded here.

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