In the Fight Against Big Digital Powers, Conde Nast Joins NBCU and Vox in Ad Pact

Brands Can Now Buy Digital Inventory Across All Three Media Companies

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Conde Nast is joining NBC Universal and Vox Media to sell ads across their combined digital properties. It's the latest move by publishers and TV conglomerates to better compete with digital advertising from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Vogue.com screenshot
Vogue.com screenshot

The addition of Conde Nast builds on what NBCU and Vox have already been doing over the past year, when they teamed up to create Concert, an advertising marketplace for high-quality content and its audiences.

The idea was to give advertisers greater reach among particular consumer groups than either company could provide alone. So a marketer trying to reach foodies, for example, could use Concert to buy ad inventory across NBCU digital content related to Bravo's "Top Chef" and Vox's Eater.com.

The addition of Conde Nast to Concert will give advertisers access to content and audiences from brands such as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue.

Thus far NBCU and Vox's efforts have been concentrated on display advertising, but video will now become part of the offering, they said.

The pitch to the marketplace from these entertainment companies is that they can give advertisers the reach promised by some other digital platforms but in a safer environment where click fraud and ad viewability problems aren't running rampant.

"In an era of fake news, ad fraud and ad blockers, we are looking to build something advertisers can trust," said Jim Bankoff, chairman and CEO, Vox Media.

While Conde Nast, Vox and NBCU are all competitors for some of the same media dollars, Concert helps them better comepte against the big ad platforms pulling budgets their way, according to Fred Santarpia, chief digital officer at Conde Nast.

As part of the partnership, the three companies have developed two new ad products focused on mobile video and branded content discovery.

It will also incorporate Conde Nast's data offering, Spire, which is designed to combine digital behavioral data with online and offline purchase data to allow marketers to optimize their campaigns in real time and on a granular level. Spire recently updated its offering to include targeting across social media.

The companies claim that the three entities digital offerings combined will reach over 200 million consumers and 99% of online millennials in the U.S., citing ComScore data from January.

Since NBCU and Vox formed their ad sales partnerhip in April 2016, TD Ameritrade has used Concert's capabilities to find sports fans across NBC Sports and Vox's SB Nation. Separately, Campbell has targeted foodies across the "Today Show," Bravo cable network and Eater.

NBCU invested $200 million in Vox in August 2015. The Comcast-owned media behemoth also counts BuzzFeed as a partner, where it has invested $400 million.