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CTV Advertising Standards: IAB Tech Lab Standards & Guidance

Learning from History: How Digital Media Standards Can Support Healthy Growth of CTV

In my last blog post, we talked about the critical “CTV vs. OTT” debate. Let’s now talk about what IAB Tech Lab and its members and partners have been doing to better support the connected TV (CTV) world.

Why is CTV so important?

“The TV and digital worlds are converging.” This is something we have talked about for a few years now. The IAB Tech Lab even started a TV Convergence Task Force in 2017 to work with other industry groups on “convergence” related topics. Evidence of this convergence is finally coming together in 2020 as we see a number of stars align:

  • New Streaming Services: Numerous new streaming services—Apple TV+, Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, and others—some ad-supported, others not currently—have launched, even as existing streaming services (most notably Hulu, Netflix, etc) continue to grow—and usually at the expense of broadcast, cable, and satellite TV services.
  • Increased Consumption: Consumption on CTV devices has also been growing rapidly, even before COVID-19, and has accelerated dramatically on a global basis as a result of stay-at-home orders and practices.
  • CTV Device Development: The continued development of new CTV devices like Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, and now devices from AT&T TV, TiVo, Xfinity, and others further increase ease of access to CTV content.
  • Shifts in Technology: A desire for traditional TV advertising to be more like digital in many ways, with better targeting, measurement, and other capabilities—has led to the development of technologies like Addressable TV, Automatic Content Recognition (ACR), and others, along with initiatives like ATSC 3.0, Project OAR, etc.

Tech Standards for advertising on CTV

For this converged world to become a reality, and also to truly deliver on the promise of CTV—at scale—the industry needs technical standards that enable interoperability and efficiency.

In this blog series, we will explore the various aspects of video ad delivery in the CTV environment and the corresponding standards that are available now or are currently in development at the Tech Lab. As we have a number of relevant efforts ongoing, I have tried to break them down into six functional areas: 

I will cover these six areas in more detail in the following installments: 

What You Can Do

While these tools will help the CTV industry scale better, we also know that more work is needed. If you are interested in helping solve the many Server Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) and CTV-specific issues we currently face in the market, please join the Tech Lab working groups — CTV, Digital Video, Programmatic Supply Chain, Open Measurement, Taxonomy — that are working on CTV-related solutions! We recognize that some adaptations and enhancements to existing standards will be needed, and that some altogether new standards may also be required. Together, we can be sure we all learn from what has worked in digital and avoid the pitfalls that haven’t worked, resulting in a healthier CTV ecosystem.


Amit Shetty
Senior Director, Product
IAB Tech Lab