NBCU, Comcast Offer Targeted Advertising

Jumping into the advance advertising business, Comcast and NBCUniversal introduced a suite of advertising products offering addressability and advanced analytics.

Being owned by a cable company should give NBCU an advantage in offering advanced advertising. At this point, satellite distributors DirecTV and Dish Network have been among the leaders in letting advertisers address advertising to targeted viewers down to the individual household level.

The company is calling its offering NBCU+ Powered by Comcast.

“This is the first product out of the marriage of Comcast and NBCU, targeting at scale,” said Linda Yaccarino (pictured), president for ad sales at NBCU. Yaccarino said pricing for the product hasn’t been developed, but the ability to provide a higher level of addressability and greater return on investment “is probably a premium piece of inventory.”

NBCU is able to use anonymized data from Comcast combined with research from other sources including loyalty card data to better target national buys on its linear broadcast and cable networks and will be able to target ads on the household level on its video on demand inventory. Comcast and NBCU will also be able to provide advertisers with more specific information about who has seen the ads allowing them to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.

“That answers what the advertiser has been asking for quite some time and no one else can deliver,” Yaccarino said. “We’re working to accelerate the sophistication of ad products.”

“NBCU+ Powered by Comcast takes the collaboration between Comcast Media 360 and NBCUniversal to another level by jointly delivering measurement and targeting solutions for high-value consumer segments across multiple marketing categories,” Charlie Thurston, president, Comcast Spotlight, said in a statement.

The company provided an example for how NBCU+ could work: A luxury carmaker would be able to target national audiences across NBCUniversal’s networks in geographic zones with a high percentage of previous luxury vehicle owners. Additionally, the company said, NBCU+ Powered by Comcast will enable household addressability across VOD inventory from NBCUniversal’s networks delivered in partnership with Comcast Spotlight within Comcast’s service area, allowing advertisers to execute campaigns that are more relevant based on an advertiser’s specific criteria.

The cable industry has been slowly rolling out advanced advertising because different operators control different parts of the country, making it difficult for advertiser to be able to achieve scale. As the biggest cable operator, with more than 20 million subscribers, Yaccarino said this product provides scale. Through the joint venture Canoe, some cable operators are offering dynamically insertable ads in VOD programs across multiple operators.

Earlier this week, DirecTV and Dish Networks joined forces to offer addressable advertising to political campaigns. Combined, the satellite broadcasters also reach about 20 million subscribers.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.