NBCU, Microsoft form TV ad alliance


NBC Universal and Microsoft announced a deal to use Microsoft’s Admira television media marketplace to more efficiently plan and sell national and local broadcast and cable television ad inventory. The deal comes on the heels of a successful test of Admira launched by the NBC Local Media group in March to buy and sell local television ad inventory in LA. NBCU will make available select inventory from both its national broadcast and cable networks for the alliance, which is set to begin in the fourth quarter of 2009.

A little competition to TVB’s ePort system? Not directly. TVB’s Gary Belis tells TVBR NBCU is an ePort user, and Frank Comerford, president, Platform Development and Commercial Operations, NBC Local Media (and TVB board chairman) is one of the biggest ePort supporters: “Admira is more complimentary than competitive to ePort. Admira seems to be about the back and forth of buying and selling, whereas ePort is about the stewarding process — once the buying and selling is completed between NBCU and these agencies, then the order would go into ePort, we assume.”

Jerry Sacchetti, TVB ePort Manager, Marketing & Client Service adds. “They are posting inventory with audience delivery data/metrics in a proprietary (NBCU) space.  We are providing a non-proprietary platform handling transactions between any between any buyer and any seller.”

NBCU will deploy Admira in two ways. For larger advertisers, Admira will enhance NBCU’s existing agency relationships by providing new planning tools for data-driven targeting and segmenting of specific audiences across its broadcast and cable television networks. For small to midsize clients, Admira will enable an automated planning, buying, posting and billing process across many of NBCU’s national broadcast and select local TV properties.

“This is all about improving ROI for clients and experimenting with next-generation metrics and processes,” said Mike Pilot, president, Sales and Marketing, NBC Universal. “Admira can help clients efficiently plan, buy and engage specific audience segments across the breadth of our broadcast and cable properties, enhancing the close relationships we have with all of our agency and client partners.”

By aggregating multiple sources of anonymous viewership data from across satellite and cable systems and overlaying that with purchase and geo-demographic data, Admira creates a unique national panel that it uses to help advertisers reach their desired audience composition. As a result, advertisers and agencies can buy audiences that might have otherwise been overlooked by other television advertising platforms and measurement technologies. Admira continuously optimizes ad placements in response to near-real-time viewership data to help ensure advertisers get the right messages in front of the right audiences.

“NBC Local Media began testing the Admira system in March with inventory from L.A.’s Universal Sports Network digital channel and added inventory from KNBC, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles, in the spring,” Comerford added. “Our initial test of the system in L.A. is off to a great start. Admira provides us with the potential to help attract an entirely new segment of advertisers to the local marketplace, particularly small and midsize businesses that might not otherwise be able to buy local television station advertising, which is a huge leap forward.”

“Teaming with NBCU brings the planning, buying and selling of television inventory squarely into the digital realm,” said Scott Howe, corporate vice president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft, the platform and monetization engine for Microsoft Advertising. “Data-driven software is going to continue serving as a catalyst to help advertisers solve their biggest media challenges. Moreover, it’s validation of Microsoft Advertising’s vision to help advertisers and publishers engage with consumers on any screen, anywhere, at any time.”

VivaKi, the Publicis Groupe operation that encompasses Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia and Digitas, will be among the first agencies to use Admira to help its clients plan and buy media when Admira rolls out later this year. “We are excited to use Admira in our media planning and buying process,” said Jack Klues, managing partner for VivaKi. “The Admira product delivers an enhanced level of forecasting, planning and execution to data-driven media buys, and this equips our media teams to make more strategic investments that improve our client’s performance and ROI. It is a technologically enhanced approach that respects the essential elements of our marketplace and maintains a level playing field between buyer and seller.”