NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino: A Strong Advocate of Advanced Advertising

By Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino: A Strong Advocate of Advanced Advertising

B&C Multichannel’s Advanced Advertising conference offered, as usual, an array of fascinating and provocative opinions in the advanced advertising space. The October 20, 2015 conference started with a keynote by Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal, who leads a department that is embracing data driven solutions.

According to Yaccarino, Advanced Advertising is “changing the industry in a very dramatic way especially in premium video. We are getting better at developing data products that describe the power of video and it is changing television greatly. Advertisers don't have to make the decision between data-driven marketing via data companies and the power of TV. The pendulum is swinging back to premium video. It is all about data-driven products.”

She is convinced that advertisers will pay more. “At NBCU we have a huge suite of data products and we did well as advertisers invested across the NBCU portfolio,” she said. “With our new platform, NBCUX programmatic, we are out of capacity. The more we power with inventory and data, the more demand there is ... in fact, more demand than supply at this time.” But when asked how much business she actually conducts programmatically, she explained, “We do over 10 million in ad revenue which is small in comparison to all of NBCU but if you talk about capacity and demand, we are placing a lot of resources against it and the growth has been exponential.”

Being at NBCU, which is owned by Comcast, is an advantage for Yaccarino especially in the set top box data access. She reveals that “Comcast set top box data reaches 22 to 25 million homes and powers our data tools -- specifically our audience targeting platform. There is an unprecedented amount of data available which can be a surrogate to national. This is something that we can use to really target ads across all of the NBCU properties. What we know compared to other folks is the power to utilize set top box data to actually service and support the entire TV ecosystem.”

The current measurement system has its limitations. “It is good for us all to improve content measurement and improve television measurement overall,” Yaccarino said. “It has to get better. Between 15% and 30% of all TV viewing is unmeasured on OTT and mobile so we have to be able to measure viewing wherever and whatever the screen is.” But, she cautioned, “It is not about liking or not liking the way things are measured now. It is a situation that must be fixed. How do we come together as an industry to better measure our product? It has to be more intuitive and we’ve got to get to a place with a uniform currency. That is a good thing about Nielsen. They have decades of experience but they are largely self-reported. We need to come together and coalesce as an industry. Advertisers want eyeballs that connect contextually.”

When asked what keeps her up at night, she responded, “Measurement. It runs the gamut from how do we get better to how do we prove 30% of the audience is missing. And we need to move quickly enough. We will continue working with Nielsen but also need other partners to prove behavioral metrics with advertisers.

“How do you take the super tanker of a company like NBCU and move it quickly enough to get advertisers what they need?” Yaccarino mused. One thing is certain: There is no fast solution.

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