NBCU Touts Union of Linear and Digital Sales Ahead of Upfront

Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

“It’s a model for what the entire industry can me when we free ourselves from legacy,” says NBCUniversal chairman of advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino.

NBCUniversal is hoping to simplify ad sales for an increasingly crowded and disparate marketplace. The company, which announced its new One Platform initiative at CES, on Tuesday discussed how it will work as the 2020 upfront approaches.

Chairman of advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino, joined by several other executives, touted the product — which unites digital and linear products, further consolidating NBCUniversal’s roster after it started selling to marketers portfolio-wide several years ago. “It’s not just our new business model,” she said. “It's a model for what the advertising business can be when we free ourselves from legacy.

Dubbed “the first singular platform,” Yaccarino stressed that the new way of doing business will have both “full transparency and scale,” meaning marketers will have the security long-afforded by traditional TV combined with the growing reach of digital.

The company will be selling on One Platform as soon as the coming upfront marketplace, and while all inventory will technically be available at launch, that obviously excludes inventory under existing partnerships or sold under previous deals. (Ad-supported streamer Peacock, for example, arrives for consumers on April 15 already sold.)

One Platform, which execs said is expected to be further automated down the line, requires significant capital investments in new technology intended to deliver flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness to marketers — and a better ad experience for consumers. Those include an expansion of the existing and proprietary AdSmart suite of advanced advertising products, Nielsen returns, data from 4C Insights, FreeWheel and Operative.

The new suite of technology, per Yaccarino, will allow marketers to sell NBCUniversal-wide regardless of strategy — making for ad sales based on broad reach audiences, specific demographics, advanced target audiences and sponsorship and live events.

Expect One Platform to be a big talking point at NBCUniversal’s upfront presentation this year, which is planned for May 11.