Checkout These Items Still Left In My NBCU23 Cart

One of the stories buried in the deluge of announcements unveiled at NBCU’s One23 developers conference last week is just how much of a “platform” NBCU has evolved into.

It’s not just the diversity of developer partners -- of which measurement, data, IDs, and metrics got the most ad industry attention -- but of the business models behind them.

I apologize for not getting to that sooner, but figured MediaPost’s readers would be most interested in the most immediate and direct consequences. You know -- currencies!

But the truth is, NBCU is diversifying in all platform directions in a way that advertisers, agencies, and its peer media giants should think about modeling themselves on.

I’m not sure why it took me a week to get back to that, or what exactly prompted me to weigh in on it today, but it was probably that I got a survey from an industry researcher to participate in a survey for an anonymous big media company, and after completing it, I can only deduce it was NBCU, even though it was asking about advertiser and agency sentiment of all the major legacy and newer digital platforms it competes with.



The reason I deduced that is because the survey began drilling down into questions explicitly about NBU’s One23 event, its metamorphosis into a “platform,” and its last question asking whether I understood the meaning of an “evolved platform."

I would have changed that question to “evolving platform,” because I don’t think NBCU is finished reengineering itself, and probably never will be, because the marketplace it exists in keeps evolving along with each technological development. (I’m pretty sure you’ll see some kind of generative AI application in NBCU’s One24 event next year, unless I already missed one it unveiled this year.)

Don’t get me wrong -- it has plenty of focus on automation, utilizing Big Data and technology to automate processes for advertisers and agencies, including a seamless integration now with MediaOcean, as well as a new “self-serve” interface that will effectively “democratize” NBCU’s advertising inventory for the long tail of small and medium-sized businesses, and introduce it to thousands of potential new advertisers.

I’ll be honest with you that there was so much going on -- and I easily get overwhelmed when there is so much news -- that I didn’t do a deep dive into some of NBCU’s next-gen development, including gaming, but a couple of areas I’d like to call out are its entry into retail media, seamless ecommerce, and licensing.

The retail media launch isn’t surprising given forecasts that it already could be as big -- or bigger, if you take GroupM’s estimates -- than the entire national TV advertising marketplace is today.

The ecommerce play, which NBCU calls “Must Shop TV” -- and utilizes an integration branded “NBCU Checkout” -- is the TV industry’s latest attempt to sell Jennifer Aniston’s sweater, which an NBCU executive I spoke to during a press “pre-brief” oddly had never heard the joke of.

Another interesting thing about the rollout is that NBCU announced a deal to license the technology to, which is another indicator that it truly is thinking like a platform company, not a media company. It will be interesting to see how that business evolves.

But I was personally surprised that none of the executives I spoke with during the pre-brief remembered that a big TV network -- Turner Broadcasting -- had already used the brand name “Checkout” (remember the “Checkout Channel,” which Turner tried to roll out in supermarkets nationwide). Or that NBCU previously invested heavily to launch its own place-based version called NBC On-Site, but eventually shut that one down too.

But this time feels different. And one day soon you really will be able to buy Jennifer Aniston’s sweater.

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