NBC, Vox Partner Up For Ad Sales

NBC and Vox media announced today they will sell ads across their TV and digital properties, which looks like the first time the two have collaborated like that since NBC made a $200 million investment in Vox last year.

There is eventually going to be a lot of that going around, as entrenched media brands buddy up to emerging media brands. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, most of all the major digital players will be controlled by the same handful of media empire.

I don’t think anyone will be very surprised.

NBC and Vox are calling their joint arrangement Concert, and it aims to give advertisers a way to grab the attention of young, affluent viewers.

It seems clear that a big part of Concert’s appeal is fear. Advertisers may know they must use the Internet, but they also read about and feel the impact of ad fraud, bots and viewability issues.

For big media players, real bad industry practices can be a strong sales pitch from premium publishers with strong alliances, like the Vox-NBC hookup appears to promise.

That’s the pitch. In what Jim Bankoff, Vox’s chief executive officer called “the lower-value marketplace,” in an interview with Bloomberg, he said an advertisers doesn’t know “where your ad is appearing, and you don’t know if it’s going to be viewable.”  “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad stuff happening in digital advertising," he told Variety,

In case you missed it. 

Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s chairman of advertising sales,  continued the advertising version of the Mean World Syndrome, telling the Wall Street Journal: “The idea here is these ads are big, bold and beautiful, and you don’t have to worry about fraud, and you don’t have to worry about viewability.”

Ads bought through Concert might end up on as many as 20 places ranging from TV to Vox’s eponymously titled site to others like Recode,, SBNation and and Vox has 54 million unique monthly visitors.

NBC has another similar arrangement, but not as fleshed out, with Buzzfeed, where the Comcast-owned conglomerate also made a $200 million investment last year. Other networks are making the same play, helped by new inroads by ratings services to count digital audiences in a way advertisers can measure against TV. 

But we may be seeing only the first steps in the process; the next few weeks that include TV’s upfronts and digitals NewFronts should be filled with other alliances.

All of that might be good and inevitable for the bigger players, but smaller publishers could get hammered. When the world divides sites into scam/ no scam, you want to be on the correct side of that ledger.

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