Origin – The UK Cross Media Measurement Programme

What is Origin (in four bullets)

  • An advertiser-led initiative, convened at a global level by the WFA with the UK as a lead implementation partner (Origin UK) to enable the planning and evaluation of cross media campaigns
  • Unprecedented accountability across all major global digital platforms, with an audited, independently managed source of data which conforms to new industry standards for measured impressions and reporting
  • An innovative technical framework that enables digital first party data to be combined with traditional media measurement in a privacy safe way
  • The opportunity to create a new UK joint industry federation, to ensure the principles of independent, audited data are delivered across media in tandem with existing media trading currencies


  • Origin is designed to address the needs of advertisers, who need to understand the true coverage of video campaigns across and beyond broadcast platforms. They point out the lack of neither a standardised approach to video and display measurement, nor a common measurement approach across media, including broadcast TV.
  • ISBA made this work a priority and has been working with the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) to convene advertisers, online platforms and broadcasters to discuss a common global approach.
  • Key principles across measurement, privacy, governance and infrastructure have been agreed between advertisers under the WFA umbrella and were published in September 2020.
  • It was agreed that the UK would be one of the lead markets for the implementation of this approach and begin work in parallel – a similar initiative is underway in the US led by the ANA.
  • Origin commissioned audience measurement experts RSMB, who responded with an endorsement of Origin’s privacy-safe Virtual ID cross-media measurement framework, and recommendations on how TV panel data can be integrated within the Virtual ID framework, alongside how this should be tested and evaluated


  • The work is designed to address three key gaps in the global measurement market
    1. The lack of a commonly agreed standard definition of ‘a view’ across digital platforms. The proposed approach will build on the standard proposed by the MRC and recently endorsed by the WFA.
    2. The need for a single, privacy safe, independently auditable data set showing unduplicated reach across YouTube, Facebook and other online platforms which may include Twitter, Snap, Amazon and Ozone in the UK.
    3. The ability to compare the resulting data with viewing to broadcaster content watched live on TV or on demand across a range of devices.
  • The outcome is an approach data set and tools that enable advertisers to plan and evaluate campaigns across and between media with the confidence of independent oversight in a privacy-safe environment.

Approach to online services and benefits

  • Origin will require online platforms to provide audience data on a census basis which can be compared with observed (panel) viewing across online and broadcast TV platforms.
  • The most novel aspect of the approach is that it will enable advertisers to see viewing across online platforms in a privacy-safe environment. Today advertisers buy views on a standalone basis and despite cross platform tools like Touchpoints and proprietary solutions deployed by media agencies, there is no independent, audited, real time data set to provide this information.
  • This aspect of the approach represents an unprecedented collaboration between the online platforms enabled by Origin, both to publish the data in a privacy safe environment and to create a single picture of reach across services by targeted audiences.
  • This will improve the efficiency of ad spend and create a trusted source for such data. For consumers it means a more targeted advertising offer and reductions in frequency (bombardment was cited in the AA 2019 Trust research as a major issue in consumer trust in advertising).
  • The aim of the programme is to provide comparable data for cross-media views respecting the conventions of TV measurement standards and the recognized MRC standards for digital video and display (for example Facebook infeed).
  • The intention is that the approach to metrics will evolve over time as the market matures and that the MRC or similar global forums will continue to maintain these standards.

Approach to cross-media measurement and benefits

  • A cross media view is central to the programme aims and will enable marketers to plan and evaluate campaigns. This is separate to the goals of BARB, which offers a trading currency for TV which we will explore as an input into the overall solution.
  • Achieving a cross-media view will require a true single source panel that covers all media exposure, including those from online platforms. This single-source panel will act as a hub source of truth, providing valuable calibration and adjustment factors to collected census data, as well as provide inputs to coverage and deduplication models.
  • The imperative is an approach that follows current JIC principles of independence, transparency and accountability and that can be mapped to the census data for online platforms.
  • The WFA/Halo have developed a proposed technical blueprint to achieve this which has been shared with advertisers, broadcasters, platforms, media agencies and measurement companies.
  • We appreciate other panel options for cross media measurement exist and welcome developments in the industry and we will explore potential areas of alignment, as well as a new standalone approach that meets the needs of advertisers and cross media requirements.

Next steps

  • Following the successful delivery of a working prototype in Phase 2b that tested the end-to-end plumbing and proved the viability and scalability of the solution, the objectives of Project Phase 3 are as follows:
    • Project Phase 3 will develop and test the minimum viable product of the Origin Service (MVP) in respect of measurement standards and models, data privacy and their application with real data and the required technical infrastructure in the United Kingdom. The scope of the MVP will include the measurement of reach and frequency of ad impressions across TV and online video, on a comparable and de-duplicated basis.
    • The Parties also wish to ensure a successful future launch of Project Phase 4 and the Company by finalising strategic arrangements together with other Project Members, including the determination of any binding agreements necessary to the formation of the Company in accordance with the Heads of Terms (which for the avoidance of doubt is non-binding).
  • The key Deliverables of Project Phase 3 are as follows.
    • Panel & VID Development
      • Deploy local technical infrastructure, including the Panel, and commence publisher data integrations.
      • Secure TV data license from BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) and complete BARB TV data integration.
      • Develop the virtual ID (“VID”) model including inputs from Panel data and optimise and iterate on the VID model to be ready for Origin Service MVP launch in Project Phase 4.
    • Trial Deployment
      • Complete the Trial requirements and production environment,
      • Real data pilot with 3+ advertisers to test the full MVP system including the production of reach and frequency calculations validated with real data.
    • Funding & Governance
      • Finalisation of the long-term funding and governance commitments set out in the Heads of Terms, necessary for incorporation of the Company, including finalisation of the Company articles of association, membership agreement with other Project Members (or other founding members who choose to become founding members of the Company), measurement agreements with platforms to be measured by the Origin Service, and user agreements with users of the Origin Service. Such agreements should cover governance, standards, privacy, data access, IP, and funding, in accordance with the Heads of Terms