Following a couple of years of conditioning the national advertising marketplace to do business on a variety of new alternatives to Nielsen’s legacy ad currency, NBCUniversal this afternoon announced it’s ready to do the same with local advertising currency, saying it is ready to “transact” on Comscore’s local TV audience measurement, and to utilize Innovid’s sales attribution data to measure the performance of its local advertising buys.
NBCU originally announced it had “certified” both Comscore (for local ad currencies) and Innovid (as an “enhanced” audience-verification metric) more than a year ago at its March 2022 developers conference in New York City (link).
“We need local to evolve,” Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer and president of commercial operations for the NBC-owned stations, told MediaPost, adding, “We were the last major medium talking about rating points.”
Comerford was referring to the fact that the NBC stations -- like much of the rest of the local TV marketplace -- have shifted to selling audience impressions, and as part of that, its new currency partners will enable enhanced ways of analyzing it.
Comscore, for example, will begin reporting demographic composition of local TV audiences beginning this fall, vis a vis a Big Data attribution system, while Innovid will enable local advertisers to see how their local buys convert into online actions including sales and other performance metrics.
While NBCU originally announced it had certified both audience data suppliers as local market currencies more than a year ago, Comerford and NBCU Executive Vide President-Measurement & Impact Kelly Abcarian said it’s taken local advertisers and agencies time to “operationalize” the data so that both sides could transact on it.
Specifically, they said the data needed to be able to be processed via the local planning and buying systems used by agencies and local advertisers such as MediaOcean’s, Strata and Wide Orbit, or in some cases, custom agency systems.
Beyond that, the NBCU execs said the timing of today’s announcement was coincidental with next week’s beginning of the network upfront selling season, because local TV doesn’t have an upfront, per se.
“We’re an always on marketplace,” Comerford said, adding that the timing is important because some national and global advertisers also buy local media as part of their annual planning.
“We’ve been preparing for this change and now we’re ready to do business,” he said.