NBCUniversal Integrates Data Platforms to Hone Ad Targeting

Comcast’s NBCUniversal opened a new division, Audience Studio, to make it easier for advertisers to use data to target audiences across TV, digital and social media. Headed up by data platforms/strategy executive Denise Colella, Audience Studio brings together four different ad buying products that NBCU has unveiled over the past few years. The company is also debuting a new data management platform, that lets advertisers match their own data with NBCU and third party data to create specifically targeted campaigns.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the four NBCU ad-buying products that will be brought together are its Audience Targeting Platform addressing specific audiences on linear TV; NBCUx, a corollary product for digital media; NBCU+ Powered by Comcast, which provides some access to Comcast set-top data; and Social Synch, which extends ad buys across various social networks.

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Prior to the creation of Audience Studio, advertisers that wanted to use two or more of these platforms had to “input data several different ways and come up with different definitions of potential ad targeting segments,” and then, manually and on their own, try to match up segments. As NBCU executive Krishan Bhatia says, “the process has the potential to cause major headaches.”

“If before you had this Chinese Wall between groups, with this, you are permeating that,” he said. “Going forward, a brand can now align their data inputs and outputs.” But some buyers are worried that each major TV company will create its own proprietary platform for accessing data, a “level of complexity might hold back the overall market’s potential.” Their solution is a single technological solution that could be used by all major TV players.

Bhatia says he’s willing to listen “if such a broader effort were under way.” But, he added, “We don’t have the luxury to wait for that solution to emerge.”

“We’d be the first people to think through how we might use that to help our clients,” he said. “But right now we want to establish a leadership position and let our ad clients use any sort of data you could possibly imagine for advertising.”