NCC's New Local Ad Package Joins Cable, Telco, Spot

AUSTIN--If you can't beat them join them.
With satellite and telcos grabbing a bigger share of the multichannel video market, NCC Media, which sells local cable spots to national advertisers, announced a new offering that allows marketers to buy commercials that run in local windows on satellite and telcos as well as cable.

NCC, owned by Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable has partnered with DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS on the new product, which it calls I+. NCC made the announcement Monday at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Austin.

With NCC combining cable, satellite and telcos, will be easier for media planners and buyers to reach more homes on local media buys, and creates a more potent competitor to broadcast stations. Revenue for the spots will be divided in proportion to the number of impressions each partner delivers.

"I+ combines the ad impressions of our existing cable interconnects with newly accessed local inventory on satellite and telco service providers, delivering tremendous advantages to advertisers - greater local reach and penetration against targeted consumers in the best programming on television," said NCC Media President & CEO Greg Schaefer.

Normally, cable, satellite and telcos are fierce competitors, but NCC, which has already been selling some regional sports network inventory for DirecTV, was able to bring them together.

"We're not in the subscriber business. We're in the impressions business," Schaeffer said. "We can be Switzerland."
NCC's sales topped $1 billion last year, accounting for about a 12%-14% of the national spot market, he said.

By adding satellite and telco homes, NCC's penetration, now in the 50% to 60% range in most markets, goes up to 80% to 95%, with the biggest markets on the high end, he said. That should lead to an increase in both dollars and share.

"This eliminates buyers' biggest objection to buying local cable," Schaefer said.

NCC plans to launch I+ in mid 2011 with select national spot advertisers. Local ads will be inserted on DirecTV on 25 networks in 25 markets. The telcos will be inserting ads in 50 markets on 50 channels.

The service will also be sold regionally by Comcast Spotlight, Cox Media and Time Warner Cable Media.

"Ad agencies have indicated a strong desire to buy more cable programming in local markets as audiences have shifted," said Charlie Thurston, president of Comcast Spotlight. "The additional penetration and ease of execution provided by I+ will make cable the number one local TV option for marketers."

Most of the markets in which I+ will be rolled out will be markets served by Comcast.

Once NCC is confident that the system works, it will be able to begin integrating advanced advertising technology in its bigger footprint.

"As long as we succeed in each inning, we'll keep rolling on," Thurston said.

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.