As NBCU Preps TV Upfront Showcase, Emphasis Is On Cross-Platform

Naylor, EVP, Digital Media Sales NBCUAbout seven days ahead of last week’s NewFronts digital content showcases held by Yahoo, Aol, The Weather Company, Blip, Digitas and others, NBC Universal tried to get a jump on things with its own interactive presentation, which it dubbed “Digital.Amplified.” Although it was a participant in the NewFronts last year, the feeling this year was that as an established media company that still has its primary business centered in the worlds of broadcast and cable TV, Comcast-owned NBCU would go its own way to highlight those connections.

Besides, it provided a bit more room between its digital event and its main content event, the network upfront, which will be held on Monday. AdExchanger spoke with Peter Naylor, EVP Digital Media Sales at NBCU, about the different ways online ad methods – including programmatic and the rise of mobile – have factored into the network’s strategy for selling its fall programming lineup to marketers and media buyers.

AdExchanger: How important is cross-platform ad sales to this year’s upfront?

PETER NAYLOR: Cross-platform selling is important in the upfront because consumers are embracing our content on all the platforms where we make it available. Many years of NBCU research looking at cross-platform consumption from our full episode player at to the London Olympics tell us that those marketers whose message reaches a consumer on more than one platform enjoy outsized response rates for message association, ad awareness and purchase intent.

So we not only go to market during the upfront talking about GRPs, but we also talk about digital, sponsorships, branded content, innovation and marketing franchises with our customers. NBCU’s Digital.Amplified event was a great way to elevate the awareness and demand for all of the possibilities we want marketers to be aware of as we bring them to market.

How has the private exchange that NBCU created with AdMeld evolved over the past two years?

We’ve continued to work with marketers in the exchange space with a careful and steady approach. We’ve dialed down and stopped working with third-party re-sellers while we have increased the use of our private exchange. The private exchange is most preferred by both NBCU and our customers because of the direct relationship. We can truly understand their goals. We can guarantee against things they are wary of in an open market, like environment and quality of content.

What’s your take on viewability?

Fifteen years ago, we wrestled with discrepancies between ad server counts. With a lot of hard work, those discussions are a thing of the past. In the future, I believe the same thing will happen around the topic of viewability. In the future, all ads served against a deal will be measured against their viewability, and viewability will just become the norm. But the industry is still working to get there.

The work of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) is leading the way. It’s important to remember that the IAB, ANA and 4A’s are all parts of 3MS, so all constituents are behind the move to viewability. When the non-viewable ads are removed from the equation, everything works better and rates should increase commensurately.

How meaningful is mobile advertising for NBCU?

I think NBCU has some amazing areas of success around mobile. Fandango does a great job of super-serving the movie enthusiast, though their mobile experiences and advertising is a robust part of the mix. At CNBC, the audience who literally can’t afford to be off their game has embraced the CNBC mobile platforms, and advertising support has been great there too.

Our cousins at The Weather Company have a massive consumer and advertising base in mobile. Finally, Breaking News, a division of NBC News Digital Group, saw mobile usage of the brand eclipse the desktop when they embraced a mobile-first approach to the business, and now they are four mobile visitors for every desktop visitor.

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