Podcast: NBCU Puts Data In The Upfront

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NBCUniversal’s upfront event at Radio City Music Hall next Monday will kick off a month of negotiations between media buyers and networks. And NBCU is the biggest seller in the upfront.

Basically, if ad deals were family meals, this would be Thanksgiving dinner.

But some annual traditions have changed. This year, the media giant is substantially altering its go-to-market, making its data and programmatic TV offerings “always on” for the first time.

In the latest episode of AdExchanger Talks, NBCU’s SVP of advanced advertising products, Denise Colella, details those changes.

For instance, she notes the company has put its programmatic linear NBCUx product on the upfront menu for the first time. Perhaps more significantly, it has expanded its use of cable-box data from parent company Comcast to create optimized media plans in both the scatter and upfront markets.

The program, called Audience Targeting Platform (ATP), “allows us to work with our clients to define a target segment, and then use that target segment in conjunction with Comcast set-top box data to identify an optimized media plan,” Colella says.

The company has been in market with ATP for three years. Budgets were experimental (i.e., tiny) at first, but the renewal rate has been upward of 70%, and many returning buyers have doubled or tripled their investment in the program.

As the program grows, inventory management becomes a bigger job for Colella’s team.

“The greatest challenge we have is not in optimizing the plans and not in handling the data, it’s actually in handling the inventory,” she says. “We work very hard with our inventory team to make sure that at the beginning of the quarter we understand what kinds of clients are coming in, what kind of target segments they’ll look for, and we’re able to handle that inventory in the most efficient way.”

Also in this episode: What’s in NBCU’s tech stack? What’s up with its Apple News ad deal? And what are the factors speeding “addressable” television?

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