NBCU Launching Global Advertising Division

On a day when NBCU would normally have held its annual upfront presentation in Radio City Music Hall, the company instead held a video conference to unveil a new global advertising division designed to offer multinational clients the ability to reach consumers everywhere with a single premium video plan.

The event was billed as not being an NBCU upfront event. They did bring in celebrities Kelly Clarkson and Milo Ventimiglia and showed a clip from Tina Fey’s new show, Mr. Mayor. And Mark Marshall, co-president of NBCU Ad Sales, noted that NBCU is going to be ready to do upfront deals, or scatter deal, whenever clients are ready.

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

But mostly the video conference was about how NBCU was looking at the future of advertising.

“Right now, we've got the permission to change the things that we know we have to change. So let's just do it already. At our company that transformation has already been in motion for years. We've been building, investing in all of these tools and investing in it incredible amount of content and now we can see what the future of video and advertising actually looks like,” Yaccarino said.

The global  advanced advertising offering is the result of coordination across NBCUniversal, Comcast and Sky, the European satellite company acquired by Comcast last year.

The unit will report in to Yaccarino and work closely with Patrick Behar, Sky chief business officer. The heads of the new unit are expected to be named in the next few weeks.

NBCU is setting up a new global intelligence lab that leverages the relationships NBCU and Sky have with audiences around the world. Clients will also be able to tap into Catalyst, an agency that creates original branded content and can adapt and localize existing creative.

NBCU said the offering provides access to premium content and top talent. It also has global scale with mulitplatform distribution that reaches half a billion viewers each month.

NBCU had already announced it was adopting Sky’s AdSmart target systems and that NBCU’s CFlight audience measurement system was being used worldwide.

During the presentation, NBCU also said it is renewing its commitment to reducing commercial time and clutter on during its highest profile programming.

Laura Molen, co-president of ad sales at NBCU said that since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, NBCU has given viewers back 2 minutes of ad time per hour in news shows.

“Our goal is to get the very best results for you,” Molen said, pointing to research that shows a better viewer experience translates into better results for advertisers.

Molen said that “too many 15 second ads in the wrong places, it just doesn’t work.” She said NBCU was working to help clients find places where 30-second ads work harder.

NBC is launching what it calls Product Synch, which uses AdSmart audience data to recommend the best places for a marketer’s product to appear, either as custom content, storyline integrations or product placement.

It is also testing a in-flight optimization allowing marketer to adapt campaign to what their target audience are watching and turn changing consumer habits into a new opportunities to reach customers.

Clients will be able to get reports that tell them in which show and on what platform their ads appeared. “That’s more transparency than any other media company can deliver. And that’s our promise,” said  Marshall.

The company is also upping its automation game, enhancing the NBCU programmatic API for linear TV, using FreeWheel’s decisioning solution to expand DSP access to NBCU OTT inventory and automating digital workflow, starting with the RFP process working with Mediaocean and Operative.

NBCU said it plans to convene a virtual creativity summit this summer, with talent. The summit will include previews of new content and new commercial innovations from the company.

Josh Feldman, executive VP at NBCU, noted that the company has found new ways to produce content and is using its technology to raise $15 million money for COVID relief causes with PSAs for the Nurses Foundations, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. It also used its Shoppable TV technology to generate $6 million in donations during the recent special edition of Parks and Recreation.

Feldman added that NBCU is helping small business by waiving fees for its NBCU Checkout feature, which lets retailers quickly open online stores.

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.