Coming off of its best TV Upfront ever, NBCUniversal has seen at least a tripling of its data products. While it’s a testament to the company’s investments in data capabilities and the NBCU Audience Studio, there’s still work to be done to deliver the best possible ad experience to consumers.
This is the assessment of Denise Colella, NBCU’s Senior Vice President of Advanced Advertising Products & Strategy, who sees over-the-top TV as “one of the most underleveraged opportunities” in the ecosystem today.
Delivering an enhanced ad experience comes as “we’re starting to see the lines between linear and digital blurring, because you’re not necessarily watching TV in the same ways that you used to,” Colella says in this interview with Beet.TV.
Between digital capabilities like targeting and optimization, there’s a lot that can be learned “looking in the rear-view mirror about what we’ve done in digital for the past 10 years to make sure we don’t commit the same mistakes,” Colella says.
Missteps might include viewability, brand safety and the consumer experience. “We’re able to take all of those learnings from digital, apply the good ones and learn from the bad ones,” she says.
While a lack of data about OTT viewing is ultimately “fixable,” the broader issue is linking all data together for the benefit of the viewer. The goal is to make people feel as though “they’re having one experience with NBCUniversal and not many different experiences through the different platforms that they access our content,” Colella adds.
While ad loads have been reduced in some instances, there’s still room to grow the ad experience itself so that it becomes an integral part of what consumers enjoy. By way of comparison, Colella says, “Many people buy magazines because they like looking at all the fashion ads. When we can make sure they’re getting advertisements that are relevant to them, it changes the whole dynamic.”
Referencing this year’s Upfront market, Colella cites comments by NBCU CEO Steve Burke that “he believes it was our greatest Upfront ever.” As the Los Angeles Times reports, NBCUniversal struck deals for the upcoming television season worth nearly $6.5 billion, an increase of 8% over 2016.
“As we’ve seen in our recent Upfront, our industry partners are really leaning in what we’re doing with our data products and we’ve seen our data products at least triple,” says Colella. “For us it’s a big testament to the investment that we’ve made in our data and the Audience Studio and also it gives us all the confidence in the world to keep developing our road map and our data products moving forward.”
This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying the New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.