NBCU is balancing audience-based targeting conducted though a variety of data and platform initiatives with ads sold the traditional way, based on context and Nielsen metrics. That was one of the key takeaways from a keynote with Dan Lovinger, NBCU’s EVP, Advertising Sales, NBC Sports at our recent SHIFT // Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit.
In a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal senior editor Mike Shields, Dan discussed how NBCU’s Audience Targeting Platform (ATP) enables the company to re-optimize upfront buys across its entire portfolio, using its own data. Dan contrasted ATP with the company’s recently-launched NBCUx for Linear TV, which allows advertisers to bring their own data and then review all available scatter inventory to create an audience-targeted media plan.
As Dan explained, both approaches are meant to give advertisers more flexibility and efficiency in reaching desired audiences. While the use of data is core, Dan sees data more as a commodity, with the real value being how and where it’s being applied. And while audience-based targeting is gaining momentum, Dan noted that context is still very important and many advertisers remain focused on that.
In the interview Dan also discussed how NBCU is expanding its access to more digital inventory via deals with BuzzFeed and Apple News. He also elaborated on digital viewership in the recent Rio Olympics and how those ads were sold, especially how NBCU structured deals with both Facebook and Snapchat. Dan also highlighted how NBCU has reduced its ad loads in VOD and is very focused on optimizing the viewer’s experience, among other topics.
NBCU has become a leader in the use of data and automation to mine more value from its broad portfolio of networks and digital inventory. Dan’s interview offers great insights about how NBCU is thinking about data and evolving its business going forward.