NBCU Using New Capabilities From FreeWheel To Sell Third-Party Inventory

Dave Clark FreeWheel
Dave Clark (Image credit: FreeWheel)

Nine months after acquiring Beeswax, ad tech company FreeWheel said it is enabling publishers with strong sales forces to sell third-party inventory to generate extra revenue and extend the reach of their advertisers’ campaigns.

FreeWheel is rolling out a pilot version of the capability this quarter with a couple of programmers. The first is NBCUniversal, which like FreeWheel is part of Comcast, FreeWheel general manager Dave Clark told Broadcasting+Cable. 

The key to the new capability is the Beeswax bidder technology, which enables a sales manager to monitor pricing from direct sales and programmatic channels in a holistic manner allowing yields to be maximized.

Also: FreeWheel Wins Consolidated ViacomCBS Ad Tech Businesses

The technology, integrated into FreeWheel’s marketplace, also allows programmers to provide the extra reach advertisers need to make their campaigns effective in a fragmented media environment.

Also: FreeWheel Sees Beginnings of Programmatic Upfront

“That’s what advertisers are saying they want,” Clark said. “Help me run one campaign against all these fragmented audience pools. Deduplicate the delivery and give me a unified report on the other side.”

Clark said big media companies with strong sales organizations are looking for more ad inventory. “TV right now is really sold out,” he said. ”There’s more demand than supply and these companies can use that core asset to expand their business by helping others sell that inventory to major brands.” 

Also: AMC Networks Moves Ad Tech to FreeWheel

Big media companies like NBCU have relationships with the biggest advertisers and are intimately involved with ensuring that sophisticated campaigns reach their intended audiences and are effective at achieving business goals.

“Programmers have been doing it in fits and starts in other places, but it’s been very clunky, which prevented it from really scaling into a meaningful portion of their business,” Clark said.

Also: Redbox Using FreeWheel Technology To Build Streaming Ad Business

“When you integrate the workflows together so that you've got unified decisioning, frequency management, reporting, all of that stuff that matters in one place, then then this can really take off,” he said.

Once used for selling remnant inventory, programmatic channels are becoming increasingly important to traditional programmers. On the other hand, Clark noted that most of the newer ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) players are more reliant on programmatic sales than on direct sales. 

“Their direct sales forces are much lighter,” he said, making working with NBCU more attractive. “If you’re NBC and you have real market clout and a sophisticated sales force selling really sophisticated properties, you can leverage that on behalf of the programmatic-first players and everybody kind of wins.”

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.