NBCUniversal Details New ‘One Platform’ Advertising Ahead Of Upfront

NBCUniversal Tuesday unveiled new details of its expanded suite of tools for advertisers ahead of the upfront that lets brands reach all kinds of audiences more easily across the company’s sweeping video assets on big and small screens.

The platform, which executives said does not exist on this scale at any other company, is part of an ongoing trend by the media industry to harness the explosive surge in video viewing and advertiser demands for clear metrics and ease of use across platforms. Viacom has an optimization program called Vantage, and AT&T’s subsidiary Xandr is working to bridge the telco’s assets with Turner and the rest of WarnerMedia.

Comcast, in a announcement followed by a conference call with top sales execs, said it wants to reinvent how the company transacts in the marketplace with One Platform and what it calls All Audience tech solutions for advertisers, which combine proprietary technology and selective partnerships in key areas. The initiative was announced in January and Lina Yaccarino, chair of advertising and partnerships, said on the call that NBCU is “deep in talks” with advertisers about how  to implement it ahead of the upfronts.

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She noted that upcoming streaming service Peacock already has  a set of pre-launch advertising partners so won’t be part of One Platform for the current upfront, but certainly will be for the next one. All other inventory across NBCU will be available.

“While I don’t have a crystal ball for the upfront, I will say that the enthusiasm in the marketplace has been overwhelming. The team is prepared to move at 100% capacity for One Platform,” she said.

A pillar of the ad advance is optimization. NBCU said it’s using technology and data science from ad-tech partner 4C Insights to introduce a cross-platform optimizer for unduplicated audience reach across linear and digital. Its AdSmart toolkit, which comes to it via new U.K. sister company Sky, now includes two new capabilities for Nielsen demo-based buys: data-driven national TV campaigns optimized to reach a single demo across the company’s linear portfolio; and data-driven cross-platform campaigns optimized for unduplicated reach across the company’s linear, digital video and OTT footprint,  executives said.

Comcast-owned FreeWheel is simplifying and streamlining the planning and delivery process for marketers. And the company will be expanding CFlight, a new way it’s developed to measure viewing across platforms.

Cross-platform impression measurement will expand to include OTT co-viewing, out-of-home measurement and short-form video. In-campaign and post-campaign measurement dashboards are in development to provide marketers with insights into how each impression across platforms drives impact for their business.

A selling point, the executives said on the call, is the ability to specifically offer four categories of audiences; broad reach audiences; demo target audiences; advanced target audiences; and audiences who are passionate about live events – from the Oscars to the Tokyo Olympics to the 2020 presidential election.

Yaccarino said NBC already has a huge amount of “storytelling,” or content but the question was how to give advertisers easy access to it in all forms.

“For the first time ever, marketers will have the best of both worlds,” she said.

Phase one, this year, will focus on unifying the linear and digital audiences The next two phases over several year will address automation, planning systems and delivery.

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