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NBCU Running Commercials Highlighting Upfront Portfolio

In an unusual move for a TV company looking to sell advertising, NBCUniversal will air commercials touting its programming aimed at media buyers this upfront season.

Four spots ranging in length from 15 seconds to 60 seconds will be airing Thursday morning on a broad cross section of NBCU properties as part of the kind of Symphony campaign it tells clients is a great way to reach customers.

The campaign will also run on partner outlets including BuzzFeed, Snapchat and Vox Media via NBCU’s Concert offering. It will get a boost from NBCU's Social Synch capability and be featured on the Apple News app. NBCU sells the ads on Apple News.

When media companies advertise, they often do it in trade magazines or on the business and media pages of newspapers.

NBCU touts its ability to reach target audiences through its Audience Studio and Audience Targeting Platform and this upfront campaign, in part, has been designed to reach its audience of media buyers. The company’s Audience Studio, which helps find shows with high concentrations of targeted viewers, used internal data about what media buyers watch. Media buyers are a very small population and NBC’s channels have broad reach, so people who are not media buyers will see them as well.

“For this year’s Upfront messaging, we’re going beyond the traditional media buy and taking advantage of our own assets because we know there’s no better way to scale a marketing campaign across platforms and target the audiences we need to reach than with what’s right within our own portfolio,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBCU’s chairman, advertising sales and client partnerships. “From entertainment to our Hispanic networks, from news to sports, we want to remind everyone that NBCUniversal is the place that has the best premium content. It’s those capabilities, the contextually relevant content and talent that will be on stage on May 15 at Radio City.”

Last year, NBCU began holding a single upfront event showcasing the entire NBCU portfolio, including its broadcast networks, cable channels and digital properties.

Last month, NBCU announced a new product, Audience Symphony, which is designed to use data to target specific audiences across the company’s portfolio of assets. NBCU committed $1 billion of its inventory to enhanced audience targeted campaigns and programmatic TV.

NBCU’s upfront spots show scenes and stars from NBCU programming including This Is Us, Mr. Robot, Saturday Night Live, Today, The Voice, NBC Nightly News, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Morning Joe, Squawk Box, Top Chef, Odd Mom Out, NBC Sports, The Magicians, E! News, The Royals, The Profit, El Senor de los Cielos, Senora Acero, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the World Cup and WWE.

NBCU did not disclose financial details, but the campaign is expected to include more than 400 commercials running on digital channels and generate at least 8.5 million digital impressions.

The ads are running on networks including NBC, USA, Syfy, MSNBC, Bravo, E!, NBCSN, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen and Telemundo.

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.