NBCU, Sky Combine on AdSmart Targeting Offering

Five months after being acquired by Comcast, Sky is working with the cable giant’s NBCUniversal unit to create a unified set of advanced advertising products under the AdSmart banner.

AdSmart will combine NBCU’s Audience studio targeting capabilities with Sky’s addressable advertising tools and allow global brands to reach customers in international markets and measure results across NBCU and Sky’s TV and digital portfolio.

The quick move with Sky contrasts with the more limited way in which NBCU has been able to collaborate with Comcast Cable to use its data on viewers and addressable technology to target advertising. Comcast Cable and NBCU have been building ad tech platforms that potentially compete for ad dollars and for dominance within the company.

Comcast’s decision to adopting Sky’s technology comes at a time when the U.S. ad tech business appears heading for consolidation. AT&T acquired AppNexus and is building its Xandr advertising unit into a platform it intends to be employed by media companies beyond its own WarnerMedia division. And Comcast lost The Walt Disney Co.’s digital advertising business to Google, which has been looking for inroads into the TV market.

The new branding at Comcast will turn NBCU’s Audience Studio into AdSmart by NBCUniversal, headed by senior VP Denise Colella. At the same time Sky AdSmart is changing to AdSmart by Sky. The units will offer linear optimization, addressable TV, digital targeting and contextual targeting.

"The world is getting smaller, and the opportunity for international marketers to make an impact with consumers is getting bigger," said Linda Yaccarino, chair, advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal. "The industry has demanded a global premium video offering, and now, one will finally exist.” 

At NBCU, Yaccarino has announced a series of initiative designed to make advertising smarter for marketing clients while improving the viewing experience for consumers.

"NBCUniversal and Sky are committed to setting the highest possible standards and transforming the ad experience. Bringing our advanced advertising solutions under one global structure is the first step in our journey,” she said.

"Over the years, Sky has built a suite of advanced advertising tools, and we’re excited to share them with international marketers in the United States." said Andrew Griffith, group chief operating officer, Sky. "Together with NBCUniversal we’re launching a global product unlike anything the market has seen before, that combines the quality and reach of TV with best-in-class addressability."

According to Comcast, AdSmart's capabilities include:

  • Linear optimization - NBCU and Sky can each enable advertisers to optimize their linear spend against a selection of consumer segments, for enhanced delivery to target audiences through the reach of national TV, leveraging Comcast set-top box data in the U.S. and Sky set-top box data in the U.K. for a total data set of more than 50 million households.
  • Addressable television - NBCU and Sky can each enable advertisers to target precise consumer segments through addressable video, for ads delivered directly to target households through engaging long-form content.
  • Digital targeting - NBCU and Sky can each enable advertisers to target precise consumer segments across digital platforms, for ads delivered directly to target users through premium online content.
  • Contextual alignment - NBCU is piloting AI-powered contextual media planning for TV, aligning brand messaging with relevant scenes across national programming, to enhance ad effectiveness and give consumers a more organic viewing experience.
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.