Fox Network Group, Turner, and Viacom hope to simplify the increasingly complicated TV ad sales process with a consortium, unveiled today, that aims to align their offerings and audience measurement.

The operation, called OpenAP, will be run by a yet-to-be-identified “leading, neutral third-party auditor,” the group says. But it will create “the television industry’s first open platform for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent management.”

They’ll disclose more details at an April 7 event.

The goal is to create “consistently defined audience targets” advertisers can go after at any of the participating companies, they say in an open letter signed by Fox Network Group’s Joe Marchese, Turner’s Donna Speciale, and Viacom’s Sean Moran.

They also tout OpenAP’s plan to provide “truly independent measurement” as opposed to “proprietary, walled-garden, self-governed reporting” based on data that each company amasses.

“OpenAP will be a single platform that agencies and advertisers can integrate with their own planning systems to activate advanced audience targeting and independent measurement within premium content,” the execs say. “That premium content reaches 93% of all television audiences today, and we hope it will expand if additional publishers join OpenAP in the future. This consortium is a necessity to move our industry forward.

Nielsen says, in a statement, that it supports “the consortium’s goals to give advertisers and agencies verified and audited reporting of delivery. This is an important part of what is needed to create openness and transparency in ad buying and selling. We look forward to cooperating and working with the consortium.”

Networks want to keep advertisers from diverting dollars to digital platforms. Internet sites often give buyers the flexibility to reach consumers with particular interests or buying habits. That could make them more efficient than TV sales based on broad categories including gender and age brackets.

But advertisers have complained that it’s too difficult to deal with TV providers’ different offerings, and the variety of data they use to guarantee that messages are reaching the right viewers.

Early this month NBCUniversal — the No. 1 seller of TV ads — said that it will sell $1 billion of its inventory in this year’s upfront market using data from its Audience Targeting Platform, which includes information from set top boxes and third party sources.

Here’s the OpenAP letter released today:

The evolution of television has brought new advances in audience targeting across premium publishers, which is enabling advertisers and agencies to drive more efficiency and more effectiveness with their TV budgets.

While demand for audience targeting has grown significantly, adoption has been limited by the fact that audience buying is not as transparent, as consistent and as easy as traditional guarantees. It doesn’t need to be that complicated. That changes today.

Today, we are proud to introduce OpenAP, television’s first-ever open audience platform. Founded by a consortium of television publishers and operated by a leading independent auditor, OpenAP will deliver cross-publisher targeting and independent measurement for advanced audiences.

This means consistently defined audience targets can be activated across any OpenAP member publisher. It means truly independent measurement and reporting by design, not just reactive third party verification. It means an open platform that supports industry-standard measurement sources and data, not just proprietary, walled-garden, self-governed reporting. It is consistent matching for an advertiser’s custom first-party audiences in the development of cross-publisher media plans.

OpenAP will be a single platform that agencies and advertisers can integrate with their own planning systems to activate advanced audience targeting and independent measurement within premium content. That premium content reaches 93% of all television audiences today, and we hope it will expand if additional publishers join OpenAP in the future. This consortium is a necessity to move our industry forward.

On Friday, April 7, the three of us will gather and share more information about OpenAP with agency, client and media influentials across our industry. We have never been more excited about the future of television and look forward to sharing more with all of you.