NBCU Joins Open AP Partners to Standardize Advanced Ads

NBCUniversal is joining Fox, Turner and Viacom—the founders of the Open AP targeted advertising consortium—to standardize and simplify advanced advertising in premium video.

In addition to NBCU joining and licensing data assets to OpenAP, the four companies have agreed to jointly develop new platforms for automated buying, advanced formats and cross-platform measurement and currency.

Between them Fox, NBCU, Turner and Viacom account for about 50% of the premium video marketplace. Each will be represented on the board that runs OpenAP.

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With traditional ratings depressed as more consumers entertain themselves online, and advertisers shifting dollars to digital, TV networks have been developing data-driven advertising capabilities designed to target viewers most likely to buy a particular product, boosting the effectiveness and value of TV advertising.

Because each of these approaches is different, advertisers have found it cumbersome to buy them and compare their effectiveness. Open AP was formed last year to create standardized definitions for target audiences that clients could use with multiple networks and to provide third-party reports in the effectiveness of campaigns aimed at these target audiences.

NBCU has been among the leaders in developing data-driven ad products. Last year it set a goal to sell $1 billion worth of advanced targeted advertising and earlier this month it created a new audience measurement metric designed to count more of the people watching its content on TV and online.

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By aligning itself with Turner, Viacom and Fox, NBCU may be tipping the industry from looking at advanced advertising as an experiment to a large-scale revenue generator. It will also give many media buyers what they’re looking for: a single source for planning and buying advanced advertising campaigns.

As part of its deal with Fox, Turner and Viacom, NBCU is licensing to Open AP its Audience Graph, which stores data about audience attributes to evaluate targets and optimize media planes, and its Data Synch, a cloud-based infrastructure that handles client and agency audience matching data securely. Clients using OpenAP will also get viewing data from Comcast’s Freewheel Shared Insights Platform for campaign planning.

“We have spent the last four years developing the industry’s best tools to empower advertisers to better target their marketing campaigns to desired audiences,” said Krishan Bhatia, executive VP, business operations and strategy at NBCU. “We’re excited to unleash the capabilities of our Audience Studio for the rest of the industry and share our underlying technology to propel the entire business forward.”

Jon Lafayette

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.