NBCU Embraces Automation; Twitter Tests Higher Character Limit

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All In

NBCUniversal is making a big bet on automation. EVP Mike Rosen told Mike Shields at Business Insider that almost all of the network’s TV ad inventory will be available on a self-serve basis – save for marquee events like the Super Bowl or Olympics. Rosen said all ad buyers will purchase inventory directly through NBCU’s software, though ads won’t vary by household. Instead, NBCU hopes to push ads onto shows watched by the most relevant consumers. Retail giant Target is the first company to sign on. Why is all this happening now? According to Shields, NBCU is “hoping to make it clear to brands that TV ads work better – and advertisers are better off keeping their budgets on TV.” More.

Such Character!
Frustrated by Twitter’s 140 character limit? Twitter hears you, and it’s testing letting users ramble on with a generous 280 characters. Right now, that capability is only available to a small number of users, but Twitter is testing it with “a small group of people,” according to a blog post from Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara. Rosen and Ihara write that character limit is a big killjoy for people tweeting in English: “Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting.” And if more people start engaging on Twitter, will the ad revenue follow? More.

Election Meddling

Axios reports that the FEC will consider banning programmatic sales of political ads to prevent the kind of shadow propaganda that spread on Facebook during the last election cycle. But it won’t be easy. Sara Fischer notes, “Republican commissioners have traditionally approached regulations around election disclosures with hostility, and in order to push measures forward, two of the three Republican commissioners would need to break with party lines, because a Democratic commissioner seat is vacant at the moment.” Read it.

What Inning Are We In?

Programmatic has improved with age, but “it’s not perfect yet,” said Damian Garbaccio, EVP of Nielsen Marketing Cloud, during a panel at New York’s Advertising Week. “Some of the programmatic and data targeting is being done just because the budget exists and they need to throw it against programmatic,” he said. The industry is somewhere between the second and the third inning in terms of maturity, said Jason Tollestrup, director of programmatic advertising and business intelligence at The Washington Post. “I think we’re still really early on in this process,” he said, noting the importance of the publisher/buyer relationship. “If all you have is just performance metrics, you really have to work on them and make sure the site is performing well and the buyer can hit their campaign metrics.” Regardless of the kinks, programmatic is on its way to becoming “the default transaction system for digital media,” said OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan.

Live From Vimeo  

Earlier this year Vimeo scrapped plans for an on-demand streaming video service, but it’s not out of the live-streaming game. The IAC-owned video network acquired Livestream on Tuesday to launch a new product called Vimeo Live, through which creators will be able to edit, stream and monetize live video – broadening its pool of inventory for buyers. “Live video contributes to our goal of offering an end-to-end solution across a creator’s entire video workflow, from broadcasting live events to archiving and hosting videos, to distributing and monetizing them anywhere,” said CEO Anjali Sud. Terms weren’t disclosed. More.

Last Ditch

Google has finally come up with a solution for its shopping service that pleases EU regulators. The platform will operate Google Shopping as a standalone unit that’s required to bid against competitors for the top slot on Google’s search results page, Bloomberg reports. Google Shopping will still be owned by Google, but will bid on ad slots with its own revenue. The deadline for Google to comply with the EU’s antitrust order, which fined the search giant almost $2.9 billion for favoring its shopping service over competitors, is coming up on Thursday. More.

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