NBCUniversal has been working to bundle its increasingly splintered inventory to make the media buying process more actionable across screens.
For a company like NBCU, that means yearslong product builds that meld together digital and linear as viewership shifts beneath its feet. Two years ago, the media giant announced One Platform, its full and unified ad tech stack that supports audience buying, campaign activation and measurement.
On Tuesday, at an event dubbed ONE22, the media giant shared its second update on the platform’s developments for its clients.
“Identity will be the new currency,” said NBCU’s chief data officer, John Lee. To make it so, One Platform will be supporting three growth areas this year: first-party data, automation and measurement.
First-party data plans
Cross-platform activation and measurement is still an industry-wide hurdle. As a media giant and programmer, NBCUniversal’s ID graph has a slew of proprietary, deterministic first-party data. It puts the media company in position to “lead on identity,” Lee said on Tuesday.
NBCU launched NBCUnified in January, its first-party data platform that currently includes discrete NBCU IDs for 150 million individuals and 80 million households.
Two more additions to this product will help advertisers target audiences more closely and efficiently.
With the NBCUnified Audiences product, advertisers can append “off-the-shelf segments,” including engagement and purchase and intent metrics, to first-party NBCU IDs for more effective targeting, Lee said. Advertisers can also onboard their own first-party data to the NBCUnified Consumer Match product, which the tool matches with NBCU IDs to increase reach across NBCU’s footprint.
For example, Dentsu, the first agency to integrate with NBCUnified, will be able to match its proprietary data from its M1 platform with NBCU IDs, augmenting the converged audience view for Dentsu customers.
Marrying the two data sets together allows Dentsu to “make exact matches on a one-to-one level,” Chief Investment Officer Cara Lewis told AdExchanger. And it hits the usual marks: “It’s a fully scalable, end-to-end solution that not only builds and matches audiences but transacts [against] them,” she said.
“Fully scalable” in NBCU terms means its ID graph is expected to include 200 million individual NBCU IDs by the end of this year, in addition to 100 million households by 2023.
NBCU is opening up more and more of its inventory programmatically.
“NBCU is converting more and more of its linear inventory into digital, addressable and biddable supply,” said Ryan McConville, EVP of ad platforms and operations.
But in TV land, programmatic buying still has its manual components, starting with the RFP process. NBCU is building a more automated workflow by leaning into partnerships with Mediaocean and Salesforce.
Mediaocean is turning its ad platform, Prisma, omnichannel. The final rollout will “incorporate linear TV and digital video into one converged workflow, which will support cross-platform deals,” said Mediaocean’s chief product officer, Anupam Gupta.
Enter Salesforce, with NBCU APIs housed in its Media Cloud product. Together, the trio makes up an “entirely new automation layer between publisher and agency order management,” McConville said.
Here’s what that looks like: Starting this year, when buyers submit RFPs through Prisma, Salesforce synchronization takes place through Media Cloud. The RFP moves into One Platform’s proposal pipeline. With a centralized workflow, advertisers can optimize efficiency throughout the campaign lifespan.
“Just imagine saving 20% of your time,” McConville said, which is the idea behind automating the bridges between agencies and publishers, from disparate order management systems to even emails and phone calls.
NBCU rolled out programmatic guaranteed on Peacock last quarter with The Trade Desk and DV360, two of its original DSP partners. Amobee, Beeswax (now owned by NBCU parent company Comcast) and Xandr also joined the list.
Starting in Q2, NBC will also offer private marketplace buying in Q2 for Peacock, including its linear channels and premium live events, McConville said.
McConville also announced a new product addition coming to streaming: Peacock Audience Extension, or Peacock AX. The combined streaming footprint includes NBCU’s other streaming channels, including NBC Sports and Bravo, which cover 182 million adults. The group will be offered to advertisers “on a single plan at a single price,” McConville said.
New streaming optimization products also include the Harmonizer and Sequential Storytelling, both of which use contextual signals to personalize ad creative.
Don’t forget about alternate currencies: As of 2022, advertisers can activate cross-platform campaigns using iSpot viewership data.
NBCU advertisers can activate against iSpot’s audience data as currency in this year’s Upfront, making it NBCU’s “new default measurement standard,” said EVP of Measurement and Impact Kelly Abcarian.
“The currency that our industry uses today – and has been using for decades – will completely disappear by 2024,” Abcarian said. (No offense, Nielsen.)
NBCU started its alternate measurement chapter with an RFP last year that garnered proposals from over 120 companies. NBCU compiled a “Look Book” on how the top competitors square up in six different categories, but according to Abcarian, the company’s new Certified Measurement Partners program will start off with a focus on just two: audience measurement and audience verification.
iSpot became NBC’s first Certified Measurement Partner in January. On Tuesday, Abcarian announced the certification of eight new partners.
NBCU certified Comscore for local TV measurement and Conviva for streaming and digital measurement.
NBCU also added a handful of companies that contribute measurement’s “core ingredients” of ad and/or audience verification, including FreeWheel, Innovid, IAS and DoubleVerify.
The future of TV measurement will be multicurrency, Abcarian predicted.
“No single player can bring together the full picture of measurement the industry is looking to transact against,” she told AdExchanger. Currently, “there’s no single currency on which to transact [across channels], so I would say the world of multiple currencies is already here.”