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NBCU Moves to Impressions for Local Advertising Sales

NBCU Television Stations

(Image credit: NBCU)

NBCUniversal said it will complete its switch to selling local advertising based on impressions on April 1.

The Comcast-owned company, which has 42 TV stations and seven regional sports networks, announced plans to shift to impressions from ratings points in September 2019. It gave clients time to evaluate the impact of the changes. 

Starting with the second quarter, the NBCU properties will be measured using cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) only, the company said.

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Selling ads based on audience impressions has been a key objective of broadcasters and of the Television Bureau of Advertising group, believing that local broadcasting often gets left out of the buying mix because some programs fall below the viewing level needed to generate ratings.

"Our local businesses were among the first to put a stake in the ground around the move to impressions-based ad buys more than a year ago, giving local marketers a better currency for measurement," said Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer at NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. "Utilizing impressions puts local TV on a level playing field with digital, since advertisers will no longer need to convert ratings to impressions in order to evaluate an overall ad buy." 

"Moving to impressions brings the added benefit of eliminating zero cell quarter-hours, which had previously resulted in a reduction in inventory," added Michael Chico, executive VP of NBC & Telemundo Owned Television Station Sales, NBCUniversal.

Also Read: Hearst Stations Move To Impression-Based Ad Sales

"Ratings, unlike impressions, are held to Nielsen’s minimum reporting standard thresholds. Ratings that do not meet these minimums are reported as zero viewership, while impressions are reported when viewing occurs in all quarter hours, effectively adding back anywhere from 5-20% of viewers depending on the daypart. This provides additional inventory for agencies and clients to reach their impressions goals on buys,” Chico said.

In addition to the TV inventory it offers, NBCU has been expanding its available digital inventory, addressable products and advanced targeting capabilities. In 2018 it created a new metric, CFlight, blending Nielsen ratings with digital measurement from other sources to better demonstrate the reach of advertising even if linear views decline.