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SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Agree On ID System

Ad-ID system to go into effect on March 31, 2014

SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry will begin using a standard digital identifier — dubbed Ad-ID — in a little less than a year, assuming that members of the performers union ratify the tentative deal.

Leaders of the union OKd the three-year successor pact Sunday, triggering a ratification vote next month by the 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members. The provisions require that Ad-ID is included in all commercials that feature SAG-AFTRA talent, with the implementation date set for March 31, 2014, in order to give the ad industry time to become accustomed to using the identifier.

The basic idea is to replace the multiple methods used to track performers compensation — which is based on how many times and where an ad airs — with a single system.

“The current system is very haphazard,” said Harold S. Geller, chief growth officer of Ad-ID. “It’s crucial that the industry do this as the number of platforms increases.”

Currently, about half of the ad industry uses Ad-ID or about 800 users. The mark which is similar to the Universal Product Code for packaged goods, to track when and where a commercial is broadcast. It was developed by the signatories to the commercials contract: the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA and CEO of Ad-ID, disclosed details of the agreement Wednesday.

“This mandate is a critical step forward for Ad-ID and the advertising industry as a whole,” he said. “Full adoption of Ad-ID will enable greater transparency and accountability and eliminate costly errors associated with the inconsistent use of advertising asset identifiers. To ensure consistency with the SAG-AFTRA contract provisions, we strongly recommend that the transition to Ad-ID codes for all television, radio and digital commercial production begin as soon as possible.”

Liodice told Variety that he’s determined to get 100% of the ad industry to use Ad-ID by next March. He also said that the issue was not a source of contention during the two months of negotiations with the union.

“I think both sides saw this as a win-win,” he added.

SAG-AFTRA had no comment.

Ad-ID was unanimously endorsed last October by the boards of the AAAA and ANA as the industry standard for commercial advertising coding.

The new SAG-AFTRA contract also provides that both sides will continue to study a structural revamp of the compensation system based on gross rating points rather than the traditional pay-per-play method — a change that the industry has been seeking since 2009.

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