Google signs TV deal with NBC Universal

Forming ad, research and tech partnership

In a potential boost to Google's efforts to build a powerful online platform for TV advertising sales, the Internet giant has signed a multiyear deal with NBC Universal, its first big content partner in the endeavor.

The GE entertainment arm and Google said late Monday they are forming an advertising, research and technology partnership to develop more effective ad metrics and attract new kinds of TV advertisers.

NBC Uni said it will initially offer ad time from several of its cable networks, including Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth and Chiller, to Google's TV Ads platform in the coming months. Other networks could be added in the future. The companies didn't say whether that could include broadcast network NBC.

Google -- with limited success -- has so far focused on selling ads for content distributors, like Dish Network, in return for a revenue split.

Traditional media players have eyed the venture with concern. Some fear the Google platform could reduce their pricing and procedural power in the ad-selling process.

To advertisers, Google and NBC Uni on Monday promised precise targeting and new data that will help advertisers better understand what consumers are responding to so they can make real-time adjustments to their ad campaign.

"We're extremely pleased to join forces with Google on this effort, which will help us develop better accountability and (return on investment) metrics for our advertisers and attract an entirely new group of clients to television advertising," said Mike Pilot, president of NBC Universal sales and marketing.

Added Tim Armstrong, Google's president of advertising and commerce, North America: "The Google TV Ads platform is making television advertising more accountable and measurable, and we're pleased with our progress to date. ... Our partnership with NBCU will help us bring the power of television to a broader set of advertisers as well as give our current advertisers increased reach through our system."

The companies didn't disclose financial terms of the deal but said they would share all revenue and explore ways to expand it, including adapting the platform to add local ad inventory.