NBCU Invites Ad-Sales Rivals on Stage to Highlight Joint Industry Committee Aims

Krishan Bhatia NBCUniversal
Krishan Bhatia (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

During a pre-upfront period when networks are looking to separate themselves from the competition, NBCUniversal has invited its rivals to speak at its annual tech and data presentation in order to promote the Joint Industry Committee formed by programmers to create modern standards and a certification process for audience measurement.

During NBCU’s One23 conference on February 8, NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships chief business officer Krishan Bhatia will be joined on a panel by his counterparts at Paramount and TelevisaUnivision, an indication of how seriously NBCU is approaching measurement issues.

The panel will also feature Cara Lewis, chief investment officer of dentsu; Amy Ginsberg, chief investment officer, North America, for Havas Media; David Campanelli, executive VP, chief investment officer at Horizon Media, and Geoffrey Calabrese, chief investment officer at Omnicom Media Group.

Media agency executives expressed concerns about a JIC created by media companies and ad sellers without initial input from buyers and advertisers.

About a week after announcing the formation of the committee, the media companies invited the major media agency holding companies to join.

NBCU says its conference will be the first time members of the JIC will speak collectively about the effort to modernize and improve audience measurement.  A coming-out event for the JIC has been planned for April 25.

On stage for Paramount will be John Halley, president of advertising at Paramount, and Sarah Squires, executive VP, business development, TelevisaUnivision. Also on dais will be David Levy, the CEO of Open AP, the advanced advertising company owned by NBCU, Paramount, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery that has been helping to organize the JIC. 

OpenAP’s data facilities will also be a key part of the JIC’s plan to make network first-party data foundational to streaming and cross-platform measurement.

“The acceleration of a multi-currency future requires that both programmers and buyers coalesce around the standards needed to power emerging cross-platform measurement solutions. By partnering on the initiatives laid out by the JIC, we will enable more measurement innovation for the benefit of the entire ecosystem. We look forward to sharing an update on our progress at NBCUniversal’s One23 event,” said Levy.

Notably not appearing will be officials from Nielsen and the measurement companies looking to provide alternative audience metrics.

The JIC is being proposed at a time when networks are looking for better ways to measure cross-platform viewership of their commercial as well as the impact those ads have on consumers. Nielsen earlier this month rolled out Nielsen One, its new measurement system designed to replace what some in the industry have called an antiquated ratings methodology based on a relatively small sample of TV users. 

Most new ratings systems rely on big data from set-top boxes and smart TVs. The big data version of Nielsen One has not yet passed muster with the Media Rating Council and is currently labeled as not to be used for transactions.

NBCU bills its One23 event as a developer conference focusing on the company’s data and technology capabilities.

Highlights of this year’s event include a fireside chat with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who will speak about the role of technology and innovation in society with CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla.

General Motors CMO and Jill Kramer, chief marketing and communications officer of Accenture, are set to speak.

There will be panels on subjects including building a more inclusive streaming landscape, connecting reach resonance and emotion, first-party data and gaming.

NBC talent including Jimmy Fallon and E! News host Erin Lim Rhodes will also participate. ■

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.