NBCU looks to deliver brands the scale of traditional TV in streaming, but with a twist
Streaming TV has been lauded by the ad world for its ability to reach audiences in premium content akin to traditional TV, but in a targeted, data-centric way that more closely resembles digital advertising. But NBCUniversal is turning that concept on its head by offering a new opportunity for brands to run broader, scaled media buys on its streaming platform Peacock.
With its new Spotlight Ads format, NBCU is looking to mimic the feeling of audiences all seeing the same ad at the same time, the way they might while watching, say, "The Voice" live on TV. This still holds value for brands looking to promote products that are essentially used by anyone—like toilet paper—or are looking to build broad awareness for a new item.
Spotlight Ads work by allowing a marketer to choose a specific time slot, and within those hours every Peacock viewer who tunes in to watch any program will see that ad first. NBCU announced the new ad format during its first-ever NewFronts presentation on Thursday.
So, for example, if you are a brand launching a new product on a Wednesday, on Tuesday night between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. you can serve an ad introducing the item that will be seen by everyone who tunes into Peacock during that time, no matter what show they are watching. No matter what show they tune into the ad from the Spotlight brand will be delivered in the first ad break.
This is an interesting twist for streaming TV, which is associated with targeted audiences. But it comes as viewing increasingly shifts from linear TV to streaming, making it more and more difficult for brands to reach consumers at scale to drive this awareness. NBCU is looking to create an opportunity that makes brands think of scale in a different way for an emerging platform.
NBCU made its first pitch during the Interactive Advertising Bureau's NewFronts, as the company continues to expand its offerings in digital video and automaton.
NBCU also announced it will allow for dynamic ad insertion—the ability to send different creative to different households—in the feeds of its cable channels like USA Network and MSNBC, on virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) like AT&T TV Now, Sling, YouTubeTV, FuboTV and Hulu Live.
Dynamic ad insertion in the streaming packages of pay-TV platforms has been the holy grail of these vMVPDs since they first debuted about five years ago, but realizing those capabilities has been slow-going.
The company is also bringing its contextual intelligence offering, which is currently available for linear TV buys, to digital. This allows brands to more-closely align their creative with the programming in which their ads are running.