SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Eventually, all television content will be IP-delivered and all advertising inventory will be made available “in the same place in the same way,” according to NBCUniversal’s Denise Colella. But not all ad inventory will be bought on audiences, she predicted at this year’s Beet Retreat.

Colella joined Howard Shimmel, formerly of Turner Broadcasting and now the head of the Janus Strategies and Insights consultancy, in a fireside chat titled Setting the Aperture for a Consumer-Centric TV in which Colella described NBC’s audience optimization solutions and discussed its motivation to join the OpenAP consortium.

“Can there ever be one unified pool of inventory?” asked Shimmel. “If you have to go to five different stores to buy the ingredients for your dinner, it’s a little annoying.”

Colella acknowledged that “it’s a real problem” in light of digital walled gardens and several marketplaces, including AT&T’s new Xander unit. “But eventually there will be a reduced number of marketplaces, as well as one report across channels that advertisers will be able to look at.”

Asked by Shimmel whether that’s a decade away, Colella responded, “I’m typically a glass-half-full person so I think it’s a bit faster than that, but it’s definitely a few years out. No matter how great a digital system or addressable we develop, as long as there are these legacy systems we’re not going to be able to get the data we need, we’re not going to be able to target the way we need to.”

She then provided a recap of NBC’s audience optimization efforts, which use second-by-second viewership data to target at the show level. “The optimizer is able to find your audience in its highest concentration at a desired frequency,” said Colella, who does not foresee a wholesale shift to audience buying.

“I think in the future we’re still going to see sponsorships. I think that there will be a portion that is bought on an emotional buy.”

NBCU’s decision to hold off from joining the OpenAP audience targeting consortium until about a year after its launch was the result of a feeling that it wasn’t far enough along, combined with internal concerns, according to Colella.

“So our decision to join was when was joining OpenAP not going to set us back with our own systems, because we had ways of doing things, investments had been made. So we felt when it was mature enough we would take the plunge,” she explained.

“It’s very much a work in progress. We’re tasked with a gigantic problem.”

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.

Beet Retreat, San Juan, November 2018