Home CTV NBCU’s Upfront Trifecta: Content, Sports And Data

NBCU’s Upfront Trifecta: Content, Sports And Data


NBCUniversal rang in the TV upfronts on Monday with pageantry. Actors, musicians, dancers and comedians vouched for the value of NBCU media in between flashy performances and trailers.

But about advertising, NBCU execs barely made a mention.

Mark Marshall, chairman of global advertising and partnerships, didn’t even step on the stage until an hour and a half into the two-hour long event.

But for the five minutes Marshall did talk about advertising, he shared fresh data about the audience targeting offering within NBCU’s One Platform. NBCU upgraded it ahead of CES in January with more AI capabilities to help automate audience planning across linear and streaming.

NBCU’s audience platform

Marshall pointed to case studies, including a GroupM campaign for Domino’s that generated a 38% increase in sales using NBCU’s revamped audience platform compared to traditional buying methods.

A similar test campaign with Omnicom Media Group drove a 38% increase in cross-platform reach and 22% more search volume compared to “legacy transactions,” Marshall said, which is code for Nielsen panels.

The early success of the audience targeting capability within the One Platform demonstrates that “not all impressions are created equally,” Marshall said. “Let’s keep that in mind when we negotiate over the next few weeks.”

Marshall also struck a chord by calling out the buy side’s most burning desire: transparency.

Ad budgets are “your money, and you deserve to know where every single ad unit runs,” he told the advertisers in the audience. “Not everyone shares the same level of transparency.”

Applause erupted despite the fact that Marshall didn’t share any specific examples on stage of how exactly NBCU gives buyers transparency that its competitors don’t. But, hey, sometimes it’s the thought that counts.


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NBCU’s sporting chance

Although NBCU’s ad tech suite was relegated to not much more than a quick recap at the end of its upfronts presentation, the broadcaster did spend time showcasing sports, particularly the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Beyond the addition of Snoop Dogg as an Olympics correspondent (yes, seriously), the NBCU also shared its expectations for audience scale.

The Paris Olympics should reach “eight Super Bowls worth of audience impressions,” said sports commentator Mike Tirico, an announcer for NBC Sports, including for the upcoming Olympics. (That’s roughly one billion viewers.)

To sweeten that reach projection, NBCU also reminded advertisers that new viewing options announced in March, such as split screens that play up to four different events simultaneously, could help increase the amount of time people spend watching the games. Plus, Olympics inventory will be biddable on Peacock for the first time.

Go biddable or go home, right?

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