NBCU Mulls Programmatic TV/Digital Upfront Deals

NBCUniversal could be selling some of its TV advertising inventory, as well as its digital advertising inventory, using programmatic or private exchanges for this coming upfront selling period.

Linda Yaccarino, president for advertising sales of NBCUniversal, speaking at a New York press event, said: “We’re prepared to make inventory available this year,” adding: “That could include TV.”

NBCU would be the biggest TV-media content company to consider using programmatic/automated systems -- where advertisers can purchase target audiences across multiple media platforms, TV networks and digital TV platforms.
While digital video companies have been using programmatic services for some time, it is typically not for the most premium TV-video content, such as for streaming network TV programming.

In addition, because programmatic video inventory sales are not for “premium” content, much has been sold at low prices. But with “private exchanges,” TV networks and Web content owners can set pricing parameters.

For a long time, traditional TV networks have been looking to protect third-party companies from selling or reselling their advertising inventory -- especially those that consider selling at a discount.

Over the last year, a number of big media agency groups have been testing the programmatic idea for TV, including Interpublic Group of Cos., which is partnering with several media companies to test an automated ad-buying platform for TV and radio. GroupM’s Xaxis unit, the largest of Madison Avenue’s so-called trading desks, has started up Xaxis TV, where it will use TV-like metrics to target audience-buying in “broadcast-quality” inventory online.

Also, some local TV-media companies are inching toward more programmatic buying. Earlier this year, Cox Media, the ad sales division of Cox Communications, partnered with clypd, a programmatic TV ad platform.

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