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Listen: NBCUniversal’s Ambitious Plan to Reinvent Audience Measurement

An interview with NBCUniversal's executive VP of insights and measurement, Kavita Vazirani

Over the two decades she worked at Comcast, Kavita Vazirani was responsible for ensuring the company got a return on investment for billions of dollars in marketing spend.

But now that she’s in her second year in a new role as executive VP of insights and measurement at Comcast-owned NBC Universal, she brings the perspective of a marketer even as she sits on the other side of the table. And that has given her a clear-eyed sense of what she wants to change about audience measurement: just about everything.

Listen to the podcast here:

“We have no choice but to push that agenda because marketers are demanding so much from us in terms of ‘yes, we know you have great shows, but what is it doing for delivering results for me?'” said Vazirani on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” “As an industry, we have to do it.”

Vazirani reviews the reforms she is trying to bring to measurement, including the next phase of CFlight, an NBCU initiative aiming to unify linear and digital ad impressions that will be deployed more broadly across the company’s portfolio this year. In addition, she reveals the early progress NBCU is making with “prime pods,” reduced ad loads intended to make a more select number of marketers see their messages stand out amid the clutter. NBCU announced Tuesday it would cut commercial load in primetime by 20% in 2020.

“It’s been about six weeks of data that we’re looking at, but we’re seeing promising results,” said Vazirani. “Because consumers are more engaged, an ad that runs with that is going to perform better and that’s the hypothesis. So far we’re seeing positive results in terms of how ads are performing.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring Discovery CEO David Zaslav, ICM Partners agent Esther Newberg, and HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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