NYC TV Week: NBCU Exec Calls for Better TV Measurement

‘It’s a Situation That Must Be Fixed,’ Linda Yaccarino Says
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New York – As television viewing continues to scatter and fragment to smartphones and tablets, capturing and measuring that viewing continues to be a challenge that must be addressed by programmers and TV distributors, a top NBCUniversal exec said.

“Television has to get better at measurement,” Linda Yaccarino, chairman, ad sales and client partnerships at NBCU said here Tuesday during her keynote interview at the Advanced Advertising Summit  held by Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable in conjunction with the third annual NYC Television Week.

Yaccarino, who was interviewed by Broadcasting & Cable business editor Jon Lafayette,  estimated that 15%, and perhaps up to 30%, of television viewing is currently unmeasured.

“We’ve got to capture viewing on the screen in the living room, on the screen in your lap, or the screen in your phone,” she said.  “It’s a situation that must be fixed. It’s an acute situation , and we’re doing everything we can.”

That includes talks with other programmers as well as other MVPDs about how they can all come together and find common ground.

“We have to get  to a place where there’s a uniform currency,” Yaccarino said. “We’ve got to come together and coalesce as an industry to get our act together and get measurement better as quickly as possible.”

Yaccarino also discussed the growth of programmatic advertising, which brings more automated, digital-style methods to the TV ad buying process.

“We’re truly out of capacity for that product,” she said. “There seems to be more demand than supply for that product.”

But Yaccarino also acknowledged that programmatic, as a contributor to the overall $10 billion-plus in ad revenue NBCU will generate this year, is “small in comparison.”

“But when you talk about capacity and demand, we are really putting our foot on the gas as to supporting it,” she said. “The growth has been exponential this year…As we sophisticate our platform and our technology, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger, and there’s no holds barred there.”

One area NBCU is trying to get a better fix on measurement and viewing trends is through Comcast’s set-top box data. Comcast, The Wall Street Journal reported today, is looking to license that data to other programmers and measurement companies.

Yaccarino said that data from Comcast’s set-top box footprint powers NBCU’s data tools in ways that can underpin the programmer’s audience targeting platform.

“It’s pretty unprecedented amount of data,” Yaccarino. “Then you have something pretty compelling for marketers to respond to, to really target their ads across what is virtually ….25% of the viewing population across all of the NBC Universal networks.”

Having that kind of data available on a broader basis would “improve television measurement overall,” she said.

As for the video-focused ambitions of companies like Facebook and Google, Yaccarino called them “friendly competitors,” which advertisers tend to use as “extenders to their television buys.”

NBCU, she confirmed, recently came to terms with YouTube on a “very expansive partnership” that included distribution support for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

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