In a sign that an outside party might be able to better maximize ad inventory related to Apple’s popular iPhones, the technology giant and NBCUniversal have struck a deal under which the Comcast media conglomerate will be the exclusive U.S. seller of commercial space in the Apple News app, which is pre-installed in all of the company’s operating systems and has more than 70 million active users. NBCU said it will also work to develop new advertising products around the app.
Publishers who allow their content to be used in Apple News typically sell their own ad inventory and keep the revenue from those efforts. Apple has sold whatever space may remain, and is turning that function over to NBCU. Publishers typically split revenue from those efforts with Apple, and are expected to continue to work with similar terms with NBCUniversal.
The deal shows NBCU digging deeper into digital opportunities. In recent months, thanks to the company’s investments in digital outlets like Buzzfeed and Vox, NBCU has offered to sell packages designed to win higher-quality audiences online. Many of the nation’s big media companies have tried to extend into digital inventory as their audiences move from TV to streaming video and mobile devices.
And it could give NBCU entrance to new opportunities. Apple continues to develop a broadband-TV service that could over time feature advertising.
NBCU named James Kreckler, a senior vice president, to oversee a new sales group that will focus specifically on developing products related to the sale of ad inventory around Apple News. ” Under James’ leadership the group will work closely with advertisers and publishers to develop unique and engaging campaigns across the News app’s premium content,” the company said in a prepared statement.