NBC Universal Takes First Steps To Sell TV Programmatically

Linear Inventory Will Be Available In Private Exchanges

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NBC Universal is taking its first steps to make linear TV available to be bought programmatically.

NBC's 'The Blacklist'
NBC's 'The Blacklist'

The company is opening its NBCUx product, which debuted last year to use data and automation for digital buys, to its entire portfolio of broadcast and cable linear TV inventory. Advertisers can begin utilizing the technology this fall.

The platform is designed to "simplify the process of planning and transacting linear TV," said Krishan Bhatia, exec VP-business operations and strategy, NBC Universal, on a call with press on Wednesday.

While there are elements of automation, there is no real-time bidding.

Inventory will be made available to select demand side platforms for buyers and advertisers to build media plans against, Mr. Bhatia said. Clients can choose which of those DSP partners they want to use to generate an audience-based media plan. But the media plans will still be subjected to inventory availability, pricing and approval by NBCU.

"It is still limited by the linear TV process, but is a big step forward," Mr. Bhatia said.

Inventory will be made available in a private exchange and marketers will be able to utilize their own data, third-party data and NBCU's own data sets.

The opportunity will only be made available to a select number of advertisers to start.

There's been a reluctance on the part of TV network groups to make their inventory available to be bought programmatically. One of the biggest fears is a possible loss of control and devaluing inventory. But Dan Lovinger, exec VP-entertainment ad sales group, NBC Universal, said the network does not have that concern.

"Our goal is to give our advertisers as many ways to access the high-value, target audiences they want to reach within our premium content," Mr. Lovinger said in a statement.

NBC Universal has made digital video and display inventory available programmatically over the past two years.

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