NBCU To Use Microsoft's TV Ad Marketplace

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NBC Universal will sell national and local advertising inventory for its broadcast and cable networks through Microsoft's Admira marketplace, the companies announced Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. NBCU said it will make select inventory from both its national broadcast and cable networks available for the alliance, which is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The programmer expects to deploy Microsoft's Admira to provide ad agencies planning tools for "data-driven targeting" and segmenting of specific audiences across its broadcast and cable television networks. Meanwhile, for small and midsize clients, Admira will enable automated planning, buying, posting and billing across many of NBCU's national broadcast and local TV properties, the companies said.

"This is all about improving ROI [return on investment] for clients and experimenting with next-generation metrics and processes," Mike Pilot, NBCU's president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. "Admira can help clients efficiently plan, buy and engage specific audience segments across the breadth of our broadcast and cable properties, enhancing the close relationships we have with all of our agency and client partners."

The Admira system was developed by Navic Networks, which Microsoft acquired last year in a deal reported to be worth $230 million.

Admira uses real-time audience measurement data -- collected from satellite and cable set-tops -- and overlays that with data about purchasing and demographics. Microsoft claims Admira continuously optimizes ad placements in response to "near-real-time viewership data."

NBC's local media group began testing the Admira system in March with inventory from Los Angeles's Universal Sports Network digital channel and then added inventory from KNBC, the NBC owned-and-operated station in L.A.

Frank Comerford, president of NBC local media's platform development and commercial operations, said Admira helped attract "an entirely new segment of advertisers to the local marketplace, particularly small and midsize businesses that might not otherwise be able to buy local television station advertising, which is a huge leap forward."

The companies said VivaKi, the Publicis Groupe operation that encompasses Starcom MediaVest Group, as well as Zenith Optimedia and Digitas, will be among the first agencies to use Admira later this year.

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