Comcast Spotlight to Plug AT&T U-verse Into Ad Interconnects

Comcast Spotlight, the cable operator’s ad-sales division, is getting even cozier with AT&T with plans to integrate U-verse TV into consolidated scheduling network grids in 21 markets effective with the new year.

In February 2011, Comcast Spotlight struck an agreement with AT&T AdWorks, the telco’s advertising arm, to sell inventory for U-verse TV in markets where Comcast also offers TV service.

Building on that deal, as of Dec. 31, 2012, Comcast Spotlight will integrate AT&T U-verse TV homes into the existing fixed scheduling network grids of the Interconnects Plus (I+) platform. That will make it easier for marketers to buy, manage and deliver media campaigns across a larger number of TV households, according to the companies.

“As more and more television viewing migrates to cable networks, bolstering our ability to offer a streamlined solution to the media community becomes more crucial,” Comcast Spotlight president Charlie Thurston said in a statement. “That’s the reason we led the industry in building interconnects, and then expanded our reach by teaming with providers like AT&T U-verse.”

New York-based Comcast Spotlight has a presence in nearly 90 markets with approximately 34 million owned and represented subscribers. Nationwide, AT&T had 4.34 million U-verse TV subscribers at the end of September.

U-verse TV will become part of I+ in 21 designated market areas where Comcast and AT&T both offer television service: Atlanta; Chicago; San Francisco; Houston; Detroit; Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Indianapolis; Fresno-Visalia, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.; Memphis, Tenn.; Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill.; Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; Lansing, Mich.; and Jackson, Miss.

I+ combines ad impressions from cable homes with those from DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS TV households. NCC Media, the ad sales, marketing and technology company owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications, will manage multimarket buys on both the Comcast and AT&T U-verse services for national advertisers.

“By ‘hard-wiring’ the network to run advertisements across a given DMA with Comcast Spotlight, we will make buying and stewarding media campaigns dramatically easier for marketers,” AT&T AdWorks president Mike Welch said in a statement. “This makes perfect sense for our clients, by expanding their reach through one contact point and reducing their administrative costs and time.”

Universal McCann executive VP and managing partner Kathy Doyle added, “We applaud Comcast Spotlight for listening to clients. We’re always looking for ways to make the investment process easier and more efficient. With the integration of AT&T U-verse TV homes into the interconnects, Comcast Spotlight is helping us do just that.”