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NBCUniversal looking to unify digital ads and TV spots

Every day it feels more and more like digital streaming services are leaving linear TV behind.

Realizing this, advertisers and many others have already made the full switch to digital.

However, options for digital TV ads are very little and the only streaming services that have ads are the ones like YouTube, Crunchyroll and Crackle, who keep their streaming services “free”

However, many of them are adopting subscription based platforms

Comecast wants unity

Comcast, mother company of NBCUniversal, has allied with sister company FreeWheel to use their ad tech to schedule linear TV ads through their services.

This way of creating ad blocks through a digital server, will give NBCUniversal the ability to correctly order their ads in times of interest of target audiences.

According to the report, FreeWheel is only making digital space for linear ads, they will not remove digital ads to put them on TV.

The reason for this change, according to Mike Mayer, EVP of Sales Solutions for NBCUniversal, is that when connecting digital to linear TV we can achieve sending the right ads to the right people efficiently.

James Rooke, from FreeWheel, hopes that this will bring a way of showing ads that is unified and seemles between digital, linear and others.

By creating a unified system for digital and linear TV we can get better ads with the same quality as the content we are watching

So, how does it work right now?

Television networks manage advertisements through linear traffic systems to schedule their programming and ads. The system works to make sure an ad by Colgate doesn’t end up right after an OralB ad or so that ads are shown the right time that specific audience is watching (and to avoid adult content on childrens timetables).

According to NBCUniversal, the system is very antiquated and it can only fill correctly about 60 to 70 percent of ad blocks automatically. As a result, a human has to intervene and fill in whatever is missing, with the risk of leaving some ads out.

An algorithm is capable of solving this Tetris in a more efficient and orderly fashion. To a point where the range of error is smaller. Likewise, the algorithm can take in information that the linear system cannot, like real-time ratings.

The algorithm service was so good upon testing, that this very month the will be testing it again on their smaller networks. If it remains a success they will incorporate it to mayor channels over the summer.

Closing the breach between digital and linear is not so simple

This is just the first step according to NBCUniversal, they had tried to close the breach between linear and digital before, but this requires a lot of back-end programming on services like CFlight, with which they were only trying to calculate the number of impressions on digital and linear at the same time.

This change will be very well recieved by agencies and networks all over the world. Even though audiences are slowly turning away from linear content, they still watch classic shows and sitcoms through streaming services.

So, soon “classic TV” will work just like the digital model, with data recopilation and an improved performance on ads.

And that is just great news for everybody.