CANNES – As advertisers seek to win over their most likely customers, they increasingly rely on a variety of data sources to optimize their media spending. NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast, has developed advanced capabilities to help advertisers reach people by audience segments.

“We are doubling down on strategic audiences because we truly believe the future of advertising is in audiences,” Maggie Zhang, senior vice president of strategy and operations, data, measurement and insights at NBCUniversal, said in this interview with Beet.TV contributor Jon Watts at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“For strategic audiences, we really mean the definition of an audience beyond traditional age and gender,” Zhang said, referring to how television audiences have been measured for decades. “NBCUniversal has been creating our first-party identity and data platform, NBCUnified. Now we’re able to reach over 200 million unique IDs and over 90 million households.”

Gen AI Audiences

During its upfront sales presentation and its One24 technology conference, NBCUniversal this year introduced audience targeting that harnesses the power of generative artificial intelligence. It analyzes content across the NBCUniversal portfolio paired with the company’s first-party data sets to define emotion-based, AI-powered audience segments.

“We’re leveraging the emerging new technology — generative AI, computer vision, deep learning, and large language models — to help unpack the connection between content, human emotion and the predictive behavior that will drive eventually the advertising outcome,” Zhang said. “By leveraging the new capabilities, we have developed over 300 new gen AI-powered first-party audience segments. We’re now actually in live beta with live advertiser campaigns.”

Live Programming

Video-on-demand platforms have given television viewers more control over their viewing experience, but live programming such as sports and awards shows can reach large audiences who want to see events as they happen. Live programming also can delivered through traditional linear television and video streaming.

“We truly believe live is actually the powerhouse in the video marketplace. Live is so unique with a combination of reaching people in the highest moment of engagement,” Zhang said. “cross NBCU linear and digital inventory, the entire portfolio can truly build reach quickly just within a very short period of time during the live viewing.”

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