In Depth

Google, NBC Universal Team for TV Ads

NBC Universal is providing Google with a big foothold in the business of television advertising.

In a deal announced Monday, Google will employ its TV Ads platform to sell spots on some of NBC Universal’s cable networks. Google TV Ads uses extensive viewership data to tell advertisers which messages consumer are responding to and quickly make adjustments to maximize sales.

The two companies will share in the revenue from ads sold using the Google TV Ads platforms, they said in a statement.

Included in the deal are NBC cable networks Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth and Chiller.

NBC Universal said the deal could expand in the future to other NBC Universal properties, which include top-rated cable network USA Network and NBC, the fourth-ranked broadcaster.

Google and NBC are also looking at ways to apply TV Ads to local markets.

Most television networks have been reluctant to turn over responsibility for selling ad inventory to a third party or to an electronic system. They are concerned that the ads would become a commodity and that their own sales arms’ ability to get top dollar for spots would be compromised.

An attempt to create an auction system for ads was recently abandoned by eBay when most cable networks refused to make spots available to advertisers using the system.
Google has been interested in getting into the television.

Goggle already has a deal to sell some national ads on the DISH satellite TV service. The Google TV Ads platform uses second-by-second set-top box data to measure viewership.
NBC and Google said they also plan to collaborate on a series of custom marketing and research projects using the Google TV Ads platform.

“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,” NBC Universal President for Sales Mike Pilot said in a statement. “This is another step in our commitment to trying innovative advertising approaches and testing new technologies that can help benefit our clients.”

NBC said it was continuing to sell time direct to agencies and advertisers. The company said it expects to add new, smaller advertisers who currently are not buying television time but might be attracted to the Google system.

“The Google TV Ads platform is making television advertising more accountable and measurable and we're pleased with our progress to date,” said Tim Armstrong, president of advertising and commerce, North America, for Google. “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.”

(Editor: Baumann)