NBCUniversal launches advertising platform that bridges linear, streaming audiences

NBCUniversal on Monday announced the full-scale launch of its One Platform Total Audience planning and activation platform that promises advertisers unduplicated reach through a single media buy across streaming and linear.

The technology uses machine learning and predictive analytics to deliver “a single media plan across linear and streaming that targets a brand’s specific audience segment and strengthens their effectiveness,” NBCU said in the announcement.

NBCU pegged the launch as the pinnacle of heavy investments in advanced advertising as it looks to bring all-screen capabilities to advertisers in an environment where consumers’ TV viewing is fragmented across various platforms and distribution modes. One Platform pulls together NBCU’s premium linear and streaming footprint, paired with Comcast linear viewing and NBCU’s first-party digital consumption data (including Peacock), alongside consumer data from itself, partners as well as third-parties, to provide a full picture of audiences at scale across platforms.  Across its portfolio of linear and streaming assets, including brands like Bravo, NBC, Telemundo, USA and others, NBCU’s One Platform spans the company’s reach of 226 million adults monthly, representing 95% consumption on a TV screen.  

The launch also signifies NBCU’s commitment to audience-based buying beyond traditional demos, disclosing it will transact 50% of its business on strategic audiences in 2024. With the new technology, NBCU is working with ad clients to identify their target, strategic audience that goes beyond traditional proxy demos.

According to a spokesperson, the tech identifies any relevant advertiser guidelines and then combines the consumption data, first-party data and its linear and streaming portfolio to produce a single buy that will reach the brand’s target audience. Examples include auto-buy intenders, quick service restaurant (QSR) users, or travel enthusiasts, among others.

The company noted that nearly 60% of its ad clients use audience-based buying and cited a continued shift to strategic audiences, with more than 25% growth compared to a year ago.

“From day one, NBCUniversal has evolved its business to connect with consumers where they are, while giving advertisers a seat at the table,” said Mark Marshall, chairman of NBCUniversal Global Advertising & Partnerships, in a statement. “2024 will be a watershed year for change. Seismic shifts in measurement will throw everyone’s media mix models up in the air, presenting a singular opportunity to transact on strategic audiences and measure real KPIs for marketers.”

The platform leverages new investments in data and automation and NBCU is already touting broad industry adoption. It said the tool has sold out across key categories for Q1 2024, including tech, auto and retail. The company is expanding access to the platform in Q2.

In one early test, an advertiser saw a 25% higher brand engagement rate than just age and gender demographics provided for the same brand.

“With One Platform Total Audience, we are empowering our clients to supercharge their media schedules in a whole new way and maximize the effectiveness of their ad dollars to achieve their business goals,” Marshall continued.

Some of the key new features:

  • New automation that leverages machine learning to automate budget allocation across linear and streaming. NBCU is also adding programmatic guaranteed for media buys with One Platform Total Audience, as well as new buy-side automated order and workflow management.
  • Enhanced data interoperability with integrations across the media ecosystem for better match rates and scale to reach target audiences.

NBCU said it built the platform with marketers in mind and to complement agency planning systems. As for measurement, One Platform Total Audiences will be measured through the company’s own testing and through testing with OpenAP – which is leading the U.S. Joint Industry Committee certifying alternate currencies. That said, NBCU is working closely with measurement partners and teased new announcements in the coming months. The media company last year certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences