• NBCUniversal Makes $1 Billion Commitment to Data-Enabled Ads in Upfronts

    Showing growing confidence in its ability to deliver more precise ads for clients, NBCUniversal announced this morning that it is committing $1 billion of ad inventory in advance of the upfronts for clients who want to buy targeted ads across NBCUniversal’s portfolio. The move is the latest by TV networks to enable data-driven ad buying in order to better compete with digital behemoths like Google and Facebook which are increasingly pursuing traditional TV ad dollars.

    With the move, NBCUniversal is guaranteeing that data-driven campaigns will deliver “precisely defined customers” on its platforms, part of its “Symphony” strategy of tapping into all of its broadcast and cable TV networks, digital properties, distribution partners, theme parks and talent.

    NBCUniversal provided the example of a new car launch campaign being able to address the most relevant audience of potential car buyers throughout NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio of assets. The multi-platform guarantee is a departure from long-held standard practice of guaranteeing based on age and gender measurement.

    In addition, NBCUniversal said it is expanding access to its Audience Targeting Platform (ATP) to all advertising categories and for scatter buys as well. Previously ATP was only available for certain brand segments and only in the upfronts.

    Finally, NBCUniversal also extended its linear TV programmatic offering to the upfronts, expanding beyond limited access in scatter. Part of NBCUx, this initiative launched last year also allows advertisers to bring their own data to campaign planning. NBCUniversal said the range of demand side platforms (DSPs) that can access linear TV programmatic inventory will expand beyond the initial 3 partners TubeMogul, AOL and Videology.

    NBCUniversal has been among the most aggressive TV network groups in pursuing data-enabled advertising for its clients. This has become an imperative for all TV networks as buyers increasingly demand more precise targeting and improved ROIs. The pressure will only mount further in 2017 as Facebook ramps up its video efforts and outreach to TV advertisers. Newly public Snapchat is also positioning itself as a credible alternative to TV for young millennials. And of course YouTube has been aggressively courting TV ad spending for years.

    For more on NBCUniversal’s advanced advertising strategy see the interview Dan Lovinger, NBCUniversal’s EVP, Advertising Sales, NBC Sports did at our SHIFT event on Nov. 30th with the WSJ’s Mike Shields.