NCC Media Helps DirecTV Enter Spot TV Market

DirecTV and NCC Media have joined forces in a deal that will allow the satellite provider to enter the spot TV market.

Per terms of the deal, DirecTV will integrate its new targeted ad system within NCC’s existing interconnects. A software patch will enable DirecTV to transmit zone-targeted ad copy from its satellites and into customer set-top boxes; the archived ad will subsequently activate in relevant breaks, across multiple cable networks.

Once the platform is ready for prime time––DirecTV said the system will go live in the latter half of 2011––NCC will complete its integration in 25 select markets.

Financials were not disclosed.

“Combining DirecTV’s ad impressions with those of our cable market interconnects will deliver a tremendous advantage to advertisers––greater local reach and penetration against targeted consumers in the best programming on television,” said NCC Media president and CEO Greg Schaefer. “And this powerful ad platform will be made available to advertisers via NCC’s sales force in 16 offices across the country…and to regional and local marketers via the local interconnect sales teams of Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable.”

While the deal marks a turning point for DirecTV, it is not the first time these seeming adversaries have worked together. Last August, the satellite TV giant and the cable spot sales consortium teamed up to move spots on regional sports networks in nine cities. (The earlier deal worked largely to the benefit of RSNs based in Comcast markets, including CSN New England and NESN in Boston; CSN Chicago and Altitude and FSN Bay Area in San Francisco.)

Other operators have crossed the aisle. Last month, Time Warner Cable Media Sales agreed to sell ad time for rival Verizon’s FiOS TV in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. As part of that particular arrangement, NCC agreed to manage multi-market buys for national advertisers on both the cable and telco TV services.

In June 2009, Comcast Spotlight cut a similar deal with Verizon to sell inventory in 10 markets, including: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Seattle.

Earlier this year, NCC announced it would no longer do business under the old National Cable Communications banner, saying it had evolved to the point where it was no longer limited to selling spots on cable systems. “Our corporate identity now more accurately reflects the true scope and scale of our dynamic company,” said Schaefer. “Today’s market requires a versatile, more nimble approach to ad sales. Our clients have seen and will continue to see an ever-broadening range of advertising services available to them, particularly from our owners, affiliates and partners.”

Jointly owned by the nation’s three largest cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications), NCC now represents virtually every other multi-channel TV service provider, reaching an estimated 98 percent of all subscription TV households.