ISBA has today announced the official launch of phase 4 of Origin. This represents a significant milestone in helping the UK advertising industry measure, report and plan cross-media campaigns by giving clarity in an environment where technological advances have changed media-consumption habits dramatically – resulting in increasingly fragmented audiences for advertising and an explosion in the number of advertising formats available online.

While phase 2 in 2021 delivered the Origin proof of concept, phase 3’s focus was on the build of both the single-source panel via Kantar and the development of the platform’s technical infrastructure via Accenture.

In phase 4, the venture enters an exciting stage of development as it moves from theory into practice. Whilst panel and infrastructure build will continue, phase 4 will see Kantar Media design and launch the WFA’s Virtual ID model which will be a key component in demographic correction and reach estimation with a privacy-safe methodology. Work continues in tandem to maintain active panel engagement and compliance, scaling the current 700 households to 2,500 and engaging with more data partners to enrich this cross-media data source.

With the launch of technical, alpha and beta trials in phase 4, real data will be surfaced from the platform for the first time. Five major advertisers are lined up to participate in the alpha trial (including EE, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever) which will commence in early July, with campaign data from linear TV, digital video and digital display (anticipated to be provided by Google and Meta). The beta trials will then accommodate up to 30 advertisers from the Origin stakeholder base before moving into the pilot launch phase in 2024.

Origin has raised £20m funding for the phase 4 development from the Origin stakeholder base which includes the 30-founding brand-owner stakeholders and through contributions from all 170 ISBA members (representing a significant proportion of UK advertising expenditure). With funding contributions also from the large digital platforms (Google, Meta, Amazon and TikTok), six media agency groups and five further media owners, this represents over £32m of funding raised since Origin’s inception. Discussions are continuing with other interested participants to join the stakeholder base and it is anticipated that further announcements will be made shortly.

In addition, phase 4 will see the launch of the collection of the Fractional Advertiser Contribution (FAC) following on from a second industry consultation conducted in early 2023. The consultation approved the FAC quantum at 0.1% of media billings across all media expenditure in the form of a voluntary opt-out mechanism to be collected by media agencies. It is estimated that this could contribute more than 30% of the Origin in-life revenues.

The first Origin market output, its Minimum Viable Product, is scheduled for launch in December 2024.

Marg Jobling, CMO Natwest Group and ISBA President commented “The launch of phase 4 of the Origin programme represents another major step forward in the programme’s road map. The importance of the data that will be surfaced from the platform across the trial launch phase is underlined by all ISBA members making a financial contribution in 2023 and by the agreement of advertisers to collection of the Fractional Advertiser Contribution ahead of the MVP launch.”

Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA commented “Phase 4 sees Origin move closer to realisation with it entering its market trial phase. We believe the outputs from the Origin system will represent a first in the field of audience measurement. As a key priority for brand-owners globally, we are delighted to be a global prototype of the WFA initiative and believe that this will help other markets deliver the WFA North Star vision.”

Tom George, CEO Origin, commented, “I’ve been overseeing the Origin vision for the last 9 months. It is an ambitious programme with many stakeholders who are focused on providing a truly market-leading solution for an increasingly complex media market. In-life it will deliver significant ROI for advertisers, allow agencies to assist their client partners in providing better multi-media advertising solutions and will allow media owners to make level playing feed single-source comparisons as to the contribution their medium makes in solving advertiser communication problems. Seeing real data surfaced from Origin in phase 4, will help achieve that vision.”