SAN JUAN — It did it once before in an earlier media era, so can cable groups’ joint sales group tackle another wave of ad platform fragmentation?

Operated by Comcast, Charter and Cox Communications, NCC Media launched in 1981 to provide a common way for ad buyers to get on to disparate and disconnected cable, satellite and now telco networks.

In this Beet Retreat interview with Furious Corp CEO Ashley Swartz for Beet.TV, NCC Media’s CEO Nicolle Pangis says: “What NCC did is literally brought together a fragmented industry and became the one place where you could buy across all markets in the United States, across all networks.”

But that was “NCC 1.0”.

Under the new CEO, the group is transitioning to a more consulting role – but it also aims to solve a familiar problem.

“Ironically, we all know that the world is again very, very fragmented from a media perspective,” Pangis says.

“A fragmentation problem now exists across different data sets that are not pulled together in a cohesive way for the buy side to be able to leverage in a scaled way.”

Pangis says that problem doesn’t just exist across smaller distributors, but larger ones, too, like NCC co-owner Comcast, which has a large footprint of addressable TV-viewing households.

What do ad buyers want? “To be able to look for audiences that they need to reach, wherever they need to reach them,” Pangis reckons.

Put simply: “Anybody who buys addressable advertising knows this… there’s nobody from an addressable perspective now who has a big enough addressable footprint to be relevant to a large national advertiser.

“So that’s the 2.0 version of NCC – pulling together the largest data set in TV, which is part of the ownership of NCC, set-top box data, broadband, IP data … and leveraging that data set in conjunction with the supply that we have access to from a national addressable perspective.”

For NCC, it is perhaps a repeat of its founding mission, but with a different slant. “Addressable” TV is when internet-connected TV sets allow for the targeting of individual households or viewers, going far beyond the old way in which advertisers bought ads in shows whose audiences were deemed to be broad demographic matches.

2018 US spending to over-the-top (OTT) TV platforms was due to reach $2 billion, Magna recently forecast.

As much as that is an amazing opportunity, making it happen to the fullest extent means guaranteeing a degree of commonality across systems – or, as Pangis puts it, “making the dirty data clean”.

How will Pangis do that?

  1. “One piece of the puzzle is making the operational workflow between the agency, the buy side … make it easier for agencies to buy inventory that isn’t upfront inventory.”
  2. “Two is (to) just transact that down to the sell side with the make-good process in a more efficient fashion. We’re working through that right now with workflow tools. There’s things that are manual (that) can be automated if we put a little time into it.”

Which means NCC’s role will be that of “an aggregator of aggregators”.

This video was produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Beet.TV executive retreat. Please find more videos from the series on this page. The Beet Retreat was presented by NCC along with Amobee, Dish Media, Oath and Google.