NBCUniversal Solidifies One Platform Offering Ahead of Upfront

Marketers can buy linear and digital spots together across 4 audience groups

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Buyers will be able to use One Platform to create one plan across all NBCUniversal’s linear and digital offerings. NBCUniversal
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Last month at CES, NBCUniversal took the wraps off its One Platform offering, which will enable the company to sell its ad inventory across all screens.

Now, the company is sharing more details about One Platform, including the new transaction model that will be available to marketers for the first time during this year’s upfront.

NBCU previously used separate tools to transact linear and digital advertising, but it’s uniting that inventory with One Platform. While the offering will take three years to fully complete, the first iteration will be available for the upfront, allowing NBCU to streamline ad buys across platforms.

Buyers will be able to use One Platform to create a plan across all NBCUniversal’s linear and digital offerings (including its Peacock streaming service, which is set to roll out nationally in July). All NBCU inventory will be available at One Platform’s launch.

“It’s a transformation that will dramatically improve the advertising experience for our viewers,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s chairman of advertising and partnerships, on a conference call with reporters.

The platform will utilize the company’s CFlight united measurement metric, which NBCUniversal is expanding to include OTT co-viewing, out-of-home measurement for linear networks and short-form video.

It will also feature a cross-platform optimizer, enhanced by 4C Insights’ technology and data science, to enable unduplicated audience reach across both linear and digital. NBCU is also expanding the linear optimization solution to include Nielsen demo target audiences.

In addition to 4C Insights, NBCUniversal is partnering with a pair of ad-tech companies: Operative, which will help unify planning, and FreeWheel (owned by parent company Comcast), which will unify scheduling and trafficking of campaigns across linear and digital platforms.

The One Platform transaction model includes guaranteed buys across four separate audience groups: Broad reach audiences, which is NBCU’s new standard for network and daypart buys across all premium video, encompasses the 211 million adults 18 and older that the company says it reaches each month. Demo target audiences are available for marketers who would prefer to transact on traditional Nielsen age and gender demographics across all platforms. Advanced target audiences will utilize the products in NBCUniversal’s AdSmart advanced advertising suite. The fourth audience group, sponsorship and live events, includes everything from red carpet to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2020 presidential election.

For the initial rollout of One Platform, NBCUniversal is focusing on unifying audiences, but over the offering’s three-year rollout, “we intend every year to be rolling out new innovations and capabilities,” said Krishan Bhatia, evp of business operations and strategy. In the second and third years, the company will focus on automating these new planning and buying systems.

With One Platform, the company is looking to take a bigger slice of overall upfront dollars in this year’s marketplace. “Our hope is whoever delivers the best experience and best products wins in the marketplace,” said Bhatia.

But even as NBCUniversal could be taking ad dollars earmarked for its rivals, it hopes that those other media companies will follow their lead in adopting One Platform. “It’s a model for what the entire advertising business can be when we free ourselves from legacy,” said Yaccarino.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.