NBCUniversal has a message for marketers: It’s not in the TV business. Rather, the company wants to position itself as a hybrid of content, media, and technology, owning the pipes that distribute content, the content itself, and the tech that underpins the platforms and advertising.
NBCUniversal hosted a (virtual) event on Monday it called “One21,” in which it outlined that vision and announced new or expanded partnerships with Instagram, The Trade Desk, and others. Attendees include agencies and marketers, but also partners across the tech stack that work with the company.
“We are inviting all of these people because we want all of them to hear the same message, and that message is that Comcast-NBCUniversal-Sky, is uniquely positioned to sit at the perch of the crossroads of being a media company, and a technology company,” Josh Feldman, CMO of NBCU’s advertising and partnerships division, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Right now we have some clients that only look at us as a media company, some clients that only look at us as a technology company, and the idea is for everybody to look at us in totality.”
In its pitch Monday, the company framed itself as something of a flywheel, with Comcast’s broadband powering streaming, Peacock powering content, and in-house tech delivering that content and creating ad experiences.
“[One21] is more than an overview of ad products. It’s an opportunity to see, for the first time, the full depth and breadth of this unified company,” NBCUniversal ad sales chair Linda Yaccarino said during the presentation. “And if the future of distribution is broadband, if the future of content is aggregation, and if the future of viewing is streaming — then Comcast NBCUniversal Sky is built perfectly for the future.”
“The future is clearly streaming, and our streaming platform is a window into that future,” added the company’s streaming chief, Matt Strauss.
That new point-of-view extends to the company’s content efforts, which were outlined by entertainment chair Susan Rovner.
“It used to be that our shows were limited by filters, timeslots or space on a schedule. But our audiences don’t think of dayparts anymore. They just want the best,” Rovner said. “We are not thinking about things by network, but by genre … If something is great, we can and will find a home for it.”
And while One21 has a clear advertising focus, Feldman makes it clear that it is not an upfront, with a content-focused presentation being developed for later in the spring.
The company also unveiled a flurry of ad tech news and partnerships. Among the new offerings are a deal with Facebook and Instagram to start selling products for third-parties through the social platforms.
“The only things we could truly sell in the past were our own goods. Now with this new partnership, because we will be embedded in their API, we can sell for third party retailers,” Feldman says.
In addition, The Trade Desk are developing a programmatic shoppable ad unit that can be rolled out across its OTT platforms. Peacock will also expand its overall programmatic capabilities.
On the technology front, NBCU and The Trade Desk will partner on a unified data strategy, including “NBCU ID,” which will be built using the company’s first-party data, including from services like Fandango and real-world data from Universal parks and experiences.
And the company will create the NBCU Audience Insights Hub, which will allow for interoperability between the company’s first-party data, and third-party data used by marketers.
“One21 isn’t the beginning of anything, it isn;’ the end of anything either,” Feldman says. “It is a continuation of a conversation we want to have with our partners year-round.”