NBCUniversal Aims to Democratize CTV Through Accessible Tech


Streaming video has transformed television advertising by making it possible for brands of all kinds to buy its inventory, and NBCUniversal aims to capitalize on this newfound accessibility, said Jessica Reed, its vice president of product marketing and content strategy.

In a conversation at Adweek’s NexTech conference in New York, Reed shared several examples of how the publisher has worked to bring a broader array of advertisers into the space. 

“We want to operate however our clients and agencies prefer to do business,” Reed told platforms reporter Catherine Perloff on stage. “Our goal is to democratize access to our inventory.”

Like digital advertising more broadly, the CTV space faces lingering questions over consumer privacy issues. The looming deprecation of the third-party cookie and the broader challenge of signal loss have influenced much of its strategy in the past few years.

Data and flexibility

NBCUniversal has responded to the challenge of signal loss by prioritizing first-party data, but the company offers a variety of ways for advertisers to work with it, according to Reed, who stressed the importance of this flexibility.

When a brand approaches NBCUniversal to advertise, the first question Reed asks is whether the company has first-party data. According to Reed, companies that have direct relationships with their customers—especially those in ecommerce or with loyalty programs—often have the richest data sets.

If the client has first-party data, NBCUniversal can offer direct matching through products like Amazon S3 or use clean room technology, such as Safe Haven from LiveRamp. To tack on additional scale, it can also create lookalike audiences using proprietary technology.

Jessica Reed (left), vice president of product marketing and content strategy, NBCUIvan Piedra

“It’s hard to deny that first-party data is essential to future-proofing our business, as well as a way to give our targeting more precision,” Reed said. 

For advertisers without first-party data, NBCUniversal is able to work with third-party cookies, but it can also build audience segments through its own portfolio, according to Reed.

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