Comcast Reps AT&T U-verse Ad Sales

In another deal that involves cable operators joining with competitors on the local ad sales front, Comcast will represent AT&T U-verse in 20-plus markets starting in June.

By adding U-verse inventory to its interconnects in an area, the deal will give Comcast Spotlight more reach as it pitches advertisers local spots on cable networks. For U-verse, it also provides scale, since its footprint can be limited.

The markets covered under the deal include Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.

NCC Media, the national rep firm for the cable industry, will work with national and regional advertisers that want to buy the joint Comcast/U-verse inventory in multiple markets. NCC also represents Verizon and is about to expand a relationship with DirecTV, further showing that companies competing vigorously for subscribers are pooling efforts to boost ad sales.

Charlie Thurston, who heads Comcast Spotlight, stated that the U-verse arrangement will simplify local buying, as advertisers can deal with one organization, rather than going door to door. This is an opportunity to "benefit from the convenience of having a single media source" that brings wider reach, he noted.

Comcast says Spotlight sells on behalf of 30 million subscribers across its various markets. It has recently been pushing interactive TV options in several of them.

At the end of 2010, U-verse served some 3 million homes, although not all are part of the Comcast arrangement -- notably in Dallas, where Spotlight does not operate.

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