NBCU Says Clients Using iSpot as Currency for Upfront Deals

Kelly Abcarian NBCU Measurement Forum
Kelly Abcarian of NBCUniversal (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal, highlighting how easy it is to use data and technology to enhance advertising for marketers and viewers, said a number of clients are using viewing data from alternative measurement company iSpot as currency for some of their upfront cross-platform buys.

A dozen advertisers, including General Motors, Marriott Bonvoy, PepsiCo, State Farm, T-Mobile and Wayfair, have joined The Currency Council, a group NBCU formed to accelerate the use of unified measurement, multiple currencies and new transactional models. 

"These innovative advertisers have come to the table and they have agreed to transact with us on real dollars," said Kelly Abcarian, executive VP, measurement & impact, advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal.

"We will usher in better measurement that delivers unified exact second by second cross-platform currency across all NBCU properties," Abcarian said. "We know these new cross-platform currencies will not only help us drive quality and efficient reach. They will solve the industry challenges around increased frequency waste and inflation."

NBCU has been among the loudest voices declaring that long-time TV measurement leader Nielsen does an inadequate job of measuring viewing behavior in the modern media environment, iSpot was the first measurement company NBCU certified as providing currency-grade audience measurement and an alternative to Nielsen

Nielsen was used for most of the upfront, but a number of other media companies also said they did some deals based on data from other measurement companies, including Comscore and VideoAmp.

"The future of currency is providing both traditional and advanced audiences in a single platform and in a cross-platform manner so brands can appropriately decide when to trade on one vs the other. In addition to advanced capabilities, iSpot has invested heavily in the development of always on, person-level, currency grade measurement," said iSpot founder and CEO Sean Muller.

"The work we’ve done cataloging and verifying every ad, measuring every second of TV advertising for the last 10 years and bringing streaming and linear together for the last 3 years puts iSpot in a great position to help provide the stability and reliability a new currency requires," Muller said.

NBCU showed off innovative ad formats that will be running on Peacock, including a highlights format that is already nearly sold out for the World Cup that activates when a viewers tunes into a game and wants a recap of the game's key moments. 

With the launch of Peacock, NBCU has initiated a number of ad formats and has seen them lift advertiser performance. Collectively the ad formats have delivered a 50% lift in purchase intent compared to CTV norms, NBCU said.

NBCU also said that it is working to make its advertising easier to buy programmatically through a growing list of demand side platforms. Buyers will be able to use programmatic technology to buy live sports on Peacock, including commercials in the World Cup.

It has created an automated request-for-proposal process working with Mediaocean and Salesforce Media Cloud that is being used by media buyers Dentsu and GroupM.

There is also a self service system for buying ads using the Peacock Ad Manager that is being tested now and readied for launch in 2023 that will make it easier for mid-sized and precision advertisers to use premium TV advertising.

NBCU shows off its ad and data technology at what has become an annual conference. The next conference, One23, will be held on February 16, 2023, the company said.

"We created One21 to introduce One Platform as the bridge between NBCUniversal’s iconic media and advanced technology capabilities, and One22 showcased how we brought One Platform to market with our universe of partners," said Krishan Bhatia, president & chief business officer, global advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal. "As One Platform continues to scale, One23 will lean into a new level of collaboration. We’ll be focused on how clients and partners from across the industry – advertisers, agencies, tech partners, and more – are delivering on the data-driven future of advertising, today." ■

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.