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NBCU Moves Programmatic Buying A Step Forward

March 24th, 2016   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon   ||    No Comments

With the recent announcement by NBCUniversal that it will allow software-based purchasing of its ad inventory, programmatic buying now garners recognition from both networks and media planners. NBCU is seeking to give advertisers as many routes possible in order to better reach their desired audience, according to Ad Age.

Big Data Boom

For a couple of years now, through a program called NBCUx, the company’s digital inventory has been available through programmatic platforms. And just in time for the 2015 upfronts, The Wall Street Journal reported the company launched something called Audience Targeting Platform (ATP), which combines data sets from set top boxes (NBCU’s parent company is cable giant Comcast Communications) and sources like Fandango (also owned by Comcast) for insights into viewership. Media planners gained the ability to analyze spots for relevancy beyond the typical age and gender, much as they were becoming accustomed to using these tools for digital media.

There are differences between programmatic buying in digital and television. The former utilizes real-time bidding, while the latter is based on private exchange. In the NBCU case, the ads can still be purchased during up fronts or throughout the season, currently up to a week in advance. The company said the plan is to make this time frame less, The Wall Street Journal notes.

Automation and Analysis

While ATP was designed to give television advertising the benefits of big data, it left out the second piece of the programmatic puzzle: automation. Enter NBCU’s most recent announcement. Traditionally in television, ordering and processing has been composed of often several laborious rounds of negotiations via telephone and email. Programmatic technology is hailed for the efficiency and automation it brings to the workflow, cutting out a lot of the back and forth as well as infusing data-driven analysis into the chain.

An overreaching benefit to bringing programmatic to television is the ability to sync advertising strategy across platforms. In accordance, NBCU has introduced a new division, Audience Studio, to combine its newer ad products. The thinking is that media buyers will benefit from a single process for researching and placing digital, social media, and television ads.

Breaking Walls

“If before you had this Chinese wall between groups, with this, you are permeating that. Going forward, a brand can now align their data inputs and outputs,” Krishan Bhatia, EVP, business operations and strategy, said.

Some in the industry have expressed concern that NBCU’s move indicates that other big network players might work on their own systems and make ad buying more complicated as a result. On the other hand, it’s good for the programmatic industry that this move has been made in television. Exposure on such a large playing field can serve to make media buyers aware of the benefits programmatic can bring and look for more ways of gaining them.

For more about the promise of programmatic, contact Videa.

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