Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky Announce Commerce Partnerships at ONE21 Event

By NBCU InSites Archives
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On Monday, Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky held what is believed to be the first ever developer conference, ONE21, hosted by a major TV media network group. This milestone event marked the culmination of one of the largest transformations in the history of U.S. media. The evolution, which has been in the works for over a decade; began with Comcast's announcement in December 2009 of their intent to acquire a majority stake in NBC from GE. The next phase took shape in 2014 as the NBCUniversal Ad Sales team, led by now Chairman, Global Advertising & Partnerships Linda Yaccarino, began to lean into the privacy-compliant use of Comcast's data to help define audiences for marketers and their agencies. In 2020, NBCUniversal launched their single TV and digital ad buying/management platform, One Platform, the core of their tech stack.

The ONE21 event transitions NBCUniversal from being a pure play content creator and media distributor to a partner for both advertisers and other partners to work as both a media and technology company, with a focus on the melding of content and commerce. Importantly, with a mature level of integration now in place with both Comcast and Sky, the transition to a data driven shoppable experience on a global level is now possible.

At ONE21 several partnerships were announced for the One Commerce Platform, including Facebook, Instagram and The Trade Desk. Evan Moore, NBCU's vice president of commerce partnerships expressed excitement about what each of these new relationships means not only to the business but to the opportunities that consumers will now have for engagement with the content. Moore gave MediaVillage insights into the expanded relationships with Facebook and Instagram. "We will be able to connect the NBCUniversal Checkout, our commerce platform, into Instagram and Facebook's commerce APIs. We can then create content on their platforms, posts, stories, live streams, to the hundreds of millions of followers that we reach, where we can feature products from our retail partners and actually offer them a native purchase experience on either Facebook or Instagram, or our NBCUniversal Checkout Platform. If they are a fan of Jill's Steals and Deals on the TODAY show and frequently watch clips on Instagram, the fan will be able to shop those deals right on Instagram."

As a part of One Platform Commerce's expansion, NBCUniversal unveiled during ONE21 a new partnership with The Trade Desk for programmatic commerce-enabled ad units, and the platform is rolling out to NBCUniversal Owned Television stations, including local NBC and Telemundo stations, the NBC Sports Regional Networks and the NBCLX network.

With the dream of commerce and content direct connections becoming a reality, the influence of each of those inputs will likely not remain distinct but create a new type of experience.

Says Moore, "What's really exciting to us is what kind of content we can make with this new paint brush. We're building content and looking at commerce as an actual new piece of the artistic creation process that goes along with your set, your wardrobe, and the actual script itself."

Moore reports, "We have been working very closely with the Peacock TV team around how to bring commerce experiences into the Peacock TV environment in a way that is additive to the viewing experience. Our focus is less around monetization, but on how commerce can be a positive differentiator to the experience. We are diving deep into what we call the 'Explorer feature'. When you pause a scene and dive deep not just into the actors or the scene data, but the pause will bring up contextually relevant advertising with the ability to purchase items in that scene or inspired by that scene."

At this week's event, NBCU announced that they will be launching the NBCU Audience Insights Hub, a proprietary data clean room that will unlock data interoperability between NBCU and its partners. Partners will be able to run "restricted, permissioned queries" across NBCU first party data sets and partner first party data sets to identify audiences, facilitate cross-platform planning, provide a more sophisticated reach & frequency, and enablement of self-service multi-platform attribution. Two initial partners, cloud-computing platform Snowflake and measurement company/DSP VideoAmp will integrate at launch.

NBCU also announced the development of the NBCU ID which will consolidate the organization's first-party audiences across all platforms (linear, OTT, mobile, desktop) which include NBCU's Entertainment, Sports, News, Hispanic brands, Digital brands from Peacock to Fandango and visitor data from its Universal Parks & Resorts to create consumer profiles with a single, deterministic privacy-centric ID. Given Google's recent announcement about moving away from deterministic IDs, this provides advertisers with a scalable alternative.

The dream of shoppable TV has been around for decades. In the '90s, every discussion with the line "One day you'll be able to click and buy the sweater that Rachel is wearing on Friends". In the early 2000's it was "One day you'll be able to purchase Michael Scott's coffee mug while watching The Office". In 2021 both of those shows still maintain their popularity and rank as two of the top streamed series. With every episode of The Office available on NBC's streaming service, Peacock,that vision has arrived.

With the announcements made at NBCUniversal's ONE21 event, NBCU is proving that it has embraced the digital transformation. Through smart business moves and a 21st Century vision of data, premium content, integrated, cross-platform commerce, a global approach and a commitment to execution of that vision, Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky has built out a scalable roadmap that well-positions it for future success.

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