NBCUniversal’s TV stations want to keep talking to their advertisers even after their commercials have already run.
The company’s 42 NBC and Telemundo TV stations and nine regional sports cable outlets have formed a partnership with TVSquared, a company that tracks response to advertising in an effort to determine the effectiveness of the efforts. The agreement represents the latest effort by a major media company’s TV stations to provide more information about results from commercials to advertisers at a time when local outlets face more competition for their dollars.
“CMOs and ad agencies are under pressure from the C-suite or from their clients to show that they are doing an effective job spending money on marketing,” says Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, in an interview.
More advertisers are examining an element known as “attribution,” or the ways in which ads spur consumers to take action. Rather than determine success by figuring out how many people saw a particular commercial, more marketers want to understand if seeing the ad sparked a visit to a website to get additional information; a product purchase; or even a search via mobile phone.
Advertisers “want data and analytics in support of inventory performance,” says Jo Kinsella, chief revenue officer and executive vice president at TVSquared, in an interview. They “want to see, day and night, how their performance ties back to business outcomes.”
TVSquared’s analytics platform seeks to tie advertising to results and business outcomes, and then uses that information to help media outlets and advertisers determine whether a media plan is performing well or needs to be tweaked and re-examined. The company can examine ad effectiveness based on when a commercial appears throughout the day; the program in which it appears; the genre of programming with which it is associated; or its creative execution.
The data pact follows other significant maneuvers by NBCUniversal’s TV-station group. The unit signaled to advertisers in September that it would no longer use traditional ratings as the basis for advertising agreements, moving instead to an examination of viewer impressions across multiple media outlets.
Indeed, many big owners of TV stations are moving in a similar pattern. In September the TVB, the trade organization that represents more than 800 TV stations and TV broadcast groups, said it had begun pressing Madison Avenue to start using viewer impressions as a base for striking ad deals. Hearst Television has also said it intends to abandon TV ratings for advertising discussions. Among some station owners and executives, there’s a feeling that relying on impressions will help lure more national advertisers, who may be looking to place commercials for fast-food restaurants and retail-sales events in the best-watched programming in a particular local market, but need more information about whether viewers are tuned in via linear TV, mobile phone or laptop.