NBCU’s Pre-Upfronts Pitch Highlights Sports, Data And Measurement

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NBCUniversal is making its annual case for bigger streaming ad budgets.

On the docket this year: updates to its live sports offering on Peacock for both viewers and advertisers, including programmatic availability for the Olympic Games.

Live sports is becoming a more prominent part of NBCU’s connected TV strategy.

Sporting programmatic options

Ad-supported streamers are competing to woo advertisers by increasing viewing time on their platforms, which is a big reason why NBCU is bringing live sports to Peacock.

During the Summer Olympics, viewers will have access to a new hub of concurrent competitions organized by sports category and a schedule so they can easily find events or bookmark them to watch later. They can also split their screens to watch up to four different events simultaneously.

Although this year marks the first time Olympics ad inventory will be available programmatically on Peacock, NBCU did make most of its other live sports content biddable last year, including through The Trade Desk and Roku’s OneView DSP. (The Trade Desk has the exclusive deal for the Summer Olympics.)

NBCU still expects the “vast majority” of sports advertisers to stick with direct or programmatic guaranteed buys to ensure a presence in the Olympic Games this year, said Alison Levin, president of advertising and partnerships.

But PMPs are a strategic way for marketers to capitalize on additional ad inventory that becomes available during a live event, she said, such as when a match goes into overtime.


Doling out data

For performance marketers, however, simply being able to buy streaming programmatically isn’t enough. They also want advanced targeting options, said Ryan McConville, NBCU’s EVP of ad platforms and operations.

NBCU announced an expanded partnership with measurement provider VideoAmp to integrate its viewership and set-top box data. The purpose is to help marketers better identify overlap between their linear and streaming audiences so they can target new viewers on CTV, McConville said.
The new relationship with VideoAmp is in the same vein as NBCU’s recent integrations with Google’s PAIR framework earlier this month and The Trade Desk’s UID2 last year. These partnerships are all meant to improve match rates between an advertiser’s first-party data and NBCU viewers without relying on third-party data.

NBCU also announced that it has developed 324 new audience segments based on the type of content people watch, which will help predict what types of ads will resonate most with a particular viewer. NBCU uses an in-house AI tool to identify themes in particular TV episodes (such as sibling rivalry or family values) and match them with audience cohorts it predicts will watch content featuring those themes, said Chief Data Officer John Lee. Examples of the new segments include “Gen Z action and drama seekers” and “dramedy streaming seniors.”

Marketers can also match with their own first-party data with NBCU’s segments to improve business outcomes, such as web traffic and conversions, Lee said.

In addition to new targeting options, NBCU also unveiled a measurement dashboard designed to track both upper- and lower-funnel metrics, including reach and frequency counts based on advanced audiences from VideoAmp and conversion metrics from EDO and Kochava.

The dashboard is designed to help marketers make campaign adjustments based on measurement reporting while campaigns are still in flight, said Lee, who noted that NBCU is looking to “whittle down” the number of measurement providers it’s working with based on specialties. The new measurement dashboard will be available later this year.

NBCU’s shopping plan

Last but not least, NBCU shared plans to boost its commerce and shoppable TV chops.

In November, NBCU made select episodes of “Below Deck” shoppable on Peacock through partnerships with Walmart and streaming tech companies KERV and BrightLine. Now, it’s extending those commerce capabilities to six other reality shows on Peacock, including “Top Chef.” Shoppable episodes will highlight popular items to buy from Walmart based on what’s in stock.

Since November, search activity has spiked for items featured for sale in “Below Deck” episodes, said Josh Feldman, NBCU’s global CMO.
The impact of shoppable ads on search speaks to people’s preference for shopping on mobile or desktop devices rather than on actual TVs, which is why NBCU is still using QR codes to bring viewers to checkout, Feldman said. But over time, he said, NBCU expects most commerce activity to happen on the TV screen itself.

NBCU will strut more of its tech and data stuff during its upfront event on May 13. AdExchanger will be there, so stay tuned.

Read the full article here.

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