Add NBCUniversal to the growing list of media companies hoping to woo advertisers to TV by offering measures other than the usual ones backed by Nielsen.
The Comcast-owned media giant said that it will, as Time Warner’s Turner, Viacom, and 21st Century Fox have in recent months, do ad deals with marketers that are based on audience measures that have more to do with the type of consumer they seek, rather than the broader benchmarks of age and gender that have been the norm for decades. NBCU will use set-top box data from its parent, as well as other types of data, to help clients reach first-time car buyers, expectant mothers and other narrowly-defined customer types, and construct guarantees of how many of those types of customers they will reach.
To be sure, NBCU will also continue to do ad deals based on Nielsen measures, said Mike Rosen, an executive vice president at NBCU who oversees advertising for both the company’s Spanish-language assets and its news programming, in an interview. But Madison Avenue is placing heavier emphasis on new metrics. “We think that not only are clients already doing it, but they will do more of it, and dedicate a larger portion of their spend” to such deals, he added. “We think the number of advertisers that will want to participate will expand as well.”
NBCU has for the past year offered to let advertisers use new kinds of audience data, but until today did not offer a guarantee of reach based on the alternate metrics. Should NBCU fail to reach an agreed-upon number of, say, soda drinkers, single mothers or households with annual income of more than $100,000, it would have to give extra ad time, known in in the industry as a “make good,” to its clients.
NBCU’s offer will extend to its TV and cable ad inventory as well as commercials available through its programming watched via video on demand
The company makes its pitch as TV’s upfront market is set to move into full swing. Every May and June, TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming programming season, hoping to catch their share of billions of dollars in advance advertising commitments. The task has grown harder, given new competition from digital media and new video-consumption behaviors to which they have given rise. Marketers are able to place ads with more precision on web pages and mobile devices, and TV networks, more accustomed to selling viewership in bulk, have come under more pressure in recent years to follow suit.
NBCU joins a competitive field. In March, 21st Century Fox said it would offer data that helps advertisers identify TV shows most likely to attract a particular audience segment, and then offer a guarantee of how many of those exact consumers the precisely scheduled commercials will reach. Turner Broadcasting more than a year ago offered to do deals with marketers that were based on their business goals rather than on reaching a certain number of people between the ages of 18 and 49. Viacom expects to have 33 different advertisers making use of its “Vantage” service, Philippe Dauman, the company’s chairman and CEO told Variety late last month and could triple that figure in 2017.
Each company has its own brew of data sources. NBCU will use the set-top box data as well as information from third-party sources, along with information from its Fandango and GolfNow properties.
Nielsen said its data continues to serve as the bedrock for the majority of ad deals put together between TV networks and advertisers, and noted some of its products are utilized in the creation of the new measures as well. ” We believe it is imperative to have an independent, unified and common measurement used for advertising currency across the industry and will continue to work with all of our clients in order to bring our currency quality data to the market,” said Kelly Abcarian, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen, in a prepared statement.
This marks the latest in a long spate of advertising offers NBCU has unveiled in recent weeks. Under Linda Yaccarino, the company’s chairman of ad sales and client partnerships, NBCU has prodded advertisers to buy broader packages of ad inventory across its collection of TV networks and digital properties, and many of the NBCU reveals appear geared toward that goal. In recent weeks, the company has pointed to a big ad deal it recently signed with Chrysler and said it would sell “programmatic” inventory, or ad time that is purchased via software that runs according to a set of algorithms that define client needs.