Advanced Television

Comcast combines Sky and NBC ad platforms

March 18, 2019

Comcast is merging the advertising power of its NBCUniversal and Sky units to better target viewers worldwide. It says the initiative would allow global advertisers to target specific households based on their interests. It comes ahead of the important ad sales upfronts, when major US networks pre-sell upcoming shows to advertisers.

The AdSmart combined service offers the strengths of NBCUniversal’s artificial intelligence in media planning, and Sky’s long experience in targeting ads to households based on their interests. Comcast paid $40 billion for Sky in September to fuel global growth and counter declines in US cable TV subscribers.

The service would ultimately allow global advertisers to automatically place ads on the most relevant shows and measure the results across NBCUniversal and Sky’s TV and digital platforms as advertising becomes more global. “The strategy is no longer country by country or market by market,” said Jamie West, group director of advanced advertising for Sky. “It eases the friction of purchasing across NBCUniversal and Sky.”

Showing viewers ads that more closely match their interests improves the viewing experience, and is ultimately better for marketers, said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal.

NBCUniversal, which includes CNBC and U.S. Spanish language network Telemundo, uses AI to scan scenes in a TV show to place an ad in the optimal spot, a strategy called contextual alignment.

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