Comcast’s Tech Unit Unveils Tool to Unify Linear and Digital Media Buys

Cross-platform workflow draws on company's own pain points

Comcast Technology Solutions wants to help remove the potential for human error in its latest launch.
Comcast

Comcast Technology Solutions is rolling out a suite of tools it claims will better unify the fragmented campaign implementation process and minimize—or remove—human error.

The division of Comcast claims the launch of the new suite saves advertisers and media agencies time during campaign implementation by automating how creative is matched with media space.

This includes traffic management, ensuring ad space is optimized for appropriate slots and ensuring adequate content rights are in place for each channel, according to the company.

Additionally, it can integrate with all ad-tech platforms (buy- and sell-side) and optimize new monetization opportunities within digital and linear environments.

Comcast Technology Solutions vp and general manager Richard Nunn explained how the product suite was conceptualized and developed to automate the entire workflow required in contemporary campaign delivery.

This included drawing from its parent company’s experience as one of the biggest advertisers (for products likes Xfinity) and as a media owner (it also owns NBCUniversal).

“Drawing from our own buy-side experience, we realized that once a media buy is executed … getting that ad through lots of constituent parts out to an eyeball across thousands of broadcasters, channels and device-types is a major issue,” Nunn told Adweek.

The process involves “a lot of hand cranking,” he said, and duplication of labor (between different advertisers, media creative agencies and local media owners) but, most importantly, leaves a lot of room for human error.

“The reality is that there’s a couple of things where human intervention and replication happens,” Nunn said. “Errors occur, and when you’re dealing with kind of multiple millions of dollars of media spend, that’s an issue.”

Nunn explained that the latest suite includes a tool to help advertisers’ partners ensure they have adequate “talent rights management,” a tool that checks the image rights in campaign agreements. For instance, do they have the right to use certain content in a VOD execution as well as on linear TV ad slots?

According to Nunn, it’s a common hurdle advertisers have to clear when reiterating campaigns featuring celebrities, and the more alignment there is across the constituent media players, the more peace of mind they can have.

The new service will be available to potential partners as an SaaS-based subscription service with Comcast Technology Solutions partnering with a number of beta partners over the past several of weeks.

As part of the rollout, Comcast partnered with video ad distribution company Peach, which will aid the division to port the solution outside of the U.S. James Carpenter, Peach, president, North America, described the rollout as “a true, complete global video solution.”

Earlier this year, Adweek spoke with Comcast stablemates NBCUniversal and Freewheel about their plans to help unify ad delivery through a partnership they claimed would take them one step closer to selling ads to buyers across screens in a unified way.

“NBCUniversal has a vision where it knows that the world is going to go all IP and they know that they have to be able to … make one buy that can execute against one audience or data set or whatever data set they care about across any screen,” James Rooke, general manager, publishers, Freewheel, said at the time.

Noting the potential synergies Comcast could strike between its latest product from Comcast Technology Solutions and its other arms, such as Freewheel, Adweek sources said it could challenge pose a challenge to Mediaocean. For instance, taking the Freewheel media buying capabilities and then using the Comcast Technology Solution to manage how the campaign is delivered across channels could yield attractive synergies.

Meanwhile, Mediaocean’s current market offering is more focused on using software to manage buying execution but has historically been billed as the market leader in end-to-end campaign management and handles more than $140 billion in billings per year.

The company, whose owners, Vista Equity Partners, are reportedly seeking sale options with a $1.6 billion price tag, has been seeking a number of alliances to shore up its campaign management in contemporary media. This includes a partnership with Adobe Advertising Cloud and one with OTT player Syncbank to ease the headaches associated with localized TV buys this year, and during Cannes Lions last year, Mediaoacean unveiled a blockchain partnership with IBM.