NBCU Trying To Quantify Quality Amid Debate on Measurement

Peacock Watch With Ad
A Watch With ad on Peacock (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

As the television industry looks for better ways to measure viewers, NBCUniversal wants the audience metrics used to buy and sell advertising to take into account the quality of the video and how much it engages consumers.

NBCU on Wednesday is holding its annual pre-upfront presentation highlighting its data and technology capabilities for advertisers. This year’s event is called One23.

“Today, we’ve brought together leaders from every corner of the marketplace: Agencies, brands, tech visionaries, data scientists, measurement innovators, even other publishers,” NBCU chair of global advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino said. “If it affects this industry, we’re talking about it here today.

“We’re unleashing the power of great content and first-party data. And we’re putting self-serve technology into the hands of businesses across America. We’re scaling commerce capabilities to move product off your shelves and off our screens and we’re making the fastest-growing streaming experience even better, for audiences and advertisers.”

One23 NBCU

Among the companies NBCU said it was working with are Amazon Web Services, Beeswax, Brightline, Comscore, FreeWheel, Google, Kerv Interactive, Mediaocean, Roku, TripleLift, TVScientific, Verishop, Yahoo and Xandr.

NBC has been among the industry leaders in calling for better measurement, multiple currencies and alternatives to Nielsen. NBCU is also one of the media companies looking to form a Joint Industry Committee that will set standards for measurement and certify measurement providers.

(A panel at One2 will feature media company executives and agency execs debating the merits of a JIC.)

One aspect of the JIC that the media companies are pushing is that audience measurement focus on premium video. And NBCU planted its own flag on prioritizing video quality by announcing that it was working with Marketcast, which has created a content quality index.

NBCU is asking all of the measurement companies it works with to embrace the content quality index and figure out how to use it in conjunction with their own audience reach totals. 

Kelly Abcarian, NBCUniversal executive VP for measurement and impact, said that it’s clear that reaching an audience watching a critically acclaimed original series, a live sporting event or Saturday Night Live isn’t the same as reaching them with viral videos and other user-generated content.

“We know that all reach is not created equal and that advertisers don't spend billions of dollars. annually to just reach an audience,” Abcarian said. ”They want to make an impact with them. And so we believe that with reach you can measure the quantity, but with resonance, you can measure the quality. And by bringing those metrics tied more closely together, we can help our advertisers get a truer picture of the advertising value.”

Marketcast measures resonance on a scale of zero to one. NBCU is doing trial to see if advertising in shows with higher content quality Indexes results in more impact for advertisers. 

“Our goal is to deliver these results to the industry you know over the coming 12 months with the goal of scaling It up by 2024,” she said. 

In audience measurement, NBCU certified VideoAmp and iSpot.TV for advanced audiences. iSpot remains the only measurement company certified by NBCU for measuring viewership by traditional demographic categories, such as age and gender.

On the data side, the company is talking about how it is enabling advertisers to combine NBCU’s first-party data about media usage and fandom with their own in a clean environment called NBCUnified Access.

“That will shed light  on how brands understand who their consumers are as fans while they’re consuming our content,” said NBCU chief data officer John Lee. “That will drive targeting and addressability, of course. But it will aso drive sponsorships, custom content and product placements.”

GroupM and its Choreograph data platform will be the first ones to use that data with their clients, Lee said. 

At One23, NBCU also said it is giving programmatic access to inventory to performance marketers in live Peacock events via The Trade Desk, OneView by Roku, Beeswax, Google Display & Video 360, Amazon, Yahoo and Xandr.

Self-serve customers will be able measure connected-TV and streaming campaigns with TVScientific and optimze campaigns in flight with facilities developed by Amazon Web Services and FreeWheel.

NBCU also announced ad innovations and expansions of its commerce facilities.

Working with KERV Interactive, NBCU is integrating NBCU Checkout into Comcast’s Xfinity X1 devices. DailyMail.com will run a pilot of NBCU Checkout to allow its readers to buy products.

On Peacock NBCU is working with TripleLift to create In-scene Ads, adding digital signage and product placements into content. Advertisers will also be able to take fans behind the scenes of the content such as Bel Air in Watch With ads.

Peacock, working with BrightLine, is enabling advertisers to run innovative ad formats during sports programming.

NBCU said that with its low ad load and innovative formats, Peacock advertisers see 12% higher scores for unaided awareness, 16% higher brand favorability and a 24% lift in purchase intent compared to other ad-supported streaming services. ■


(Image credit: NBCUniversal)
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.