PALM SPRINGS, Calif – NBCUniversal’s Total Audience Delivery is a first for its coverage of Winter Olympics and a model for what the company believes will be more acceptance of the way it is helping marketers re-aggregate fragmenting audiences.
So far, one of the biggest takeaways from the PyeongChang Winter Games for Krishan Bhatia has been the acceleration of over-the-top and connected TV viewing. “I think for the past few years we have continued to underestimate that potential,” says NBCU’s EVP, Business Operations & Strategy, who Beet.TV interviewed at the Annual Leadership Conference of the Interactive Advertising Bureau several days after the opening ceremonies. “Once again, we believe that it’s going to blow through all of the estimates.”
As Broadcasting & Cable reports, NBCU figures showed that 28.3 million viewers watched the opening ceremonies, 27.8 million of them on television. Audience numbers for out-of-home viewing weren’t yet available. As of Feb. 13, half of U.S. television homes and more than one-third of the country’s population had watched the Olympics on the networks of NBCUniversal, according to fast cume data provided by Nielsen. Six days into the events, NBC Sports Digital’s presentation had been accessed by 6.6 million unique devices–higher than the 2016 Rio Olympics (6.0 million through the comparable date) and more than tripling the 2014 Sochi Olympics (1.8 million to date).
Bhatia says the company’s total audience measurement and delivery approach should apply to any content and consumer segment that is proliferating and fragmenting across multiple platforms along with time-shifting consumption. Given this backdrop, brands want to work with fewer, bigger partners to re-aggregate eyeballs.
“I think we will find marketers and agencies leaning more into this than they ever had,” Bhatia says of Total Audience Delivery.
Commercial ad load and viewer experience remain “another area of huge focus for us,” he adds. Having reduced ad loads on OTT and on-demand platforms by about 30%, NBCU continues to test new formats and develop new products as well as improving its contextual targeting solutions.
“We’re in a two to three week process of researching ad pod length and formats right now to really come up with what is the optimal solution both for the consumer experience and for how that drives marketer metrics,” says Bhatia.
As the company approaches its third year of enhanced audience buying, it doesn’t plan to “reinvent the wheel” but scale the business “and quite frankly making it more efficient for marketers and agencies to engage with us.”
As examples he points to NBCU’s work on facilitating better data interoperability for audience targeting and its automation capabilities. In the latter category is its API through which buyers can access TV inventory on the 4C Insights Platform, which is the subject of this interview.
“We think that’s a giant step towards making the buying and transacting of television significantly more efficient,” Bhatia says.
This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.