FreeWheel and NBCUniversal connect linear TV and digital video ad delivery systems

Thursday, January 31st, 2019
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FreeWheel and NBCUniversal Connect Linear TV and Digital Video Ad Delivery Systems as Part of Broader Initiative to Unify Ad Decisioning

  • Marks important step forward in “one order, one report” ad buying across all video
  • Greater automation and holistic, results-driven advertising delivery will open up access to
    TV for more companies

NEW YORK — Today, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company (Nasdaq: CMCSA), announced it has completed the first stage of a technology unification initiative with NBCUniversal (NBCU) to extend FreeWheel’s ad decisioning capabilities to traditional TV inventory. The first stage focused on building the connections between NBCU’s digital and linear ad delivery technologies, laying the foundation that will enable NBCU to more effectively sell and execute inventory across all screens in a unified fashion, a long-standing goal for the industry.

With the linear and digital delivery systems now connected, NBCU is using FreeWheel’s dynamic ad decisioning technology to optimize linear TV schedules in tight coordination with their linear trafficking system. Bringing digital capabilities to linear TV inventory has historically been challenging since ad placement decisions must be inclusive of all buying parameters, such as competitive separation, programming and daypart restraints, and special sponsorship linkages.

“Linear has been the missing piece in the one order, one report solution that marketers need. The results of the work on linear schedule optimization using our digital ad decisioning capabilities were extremely encouraging and an important first proof point of the value of connecting NBCU’s linear and digital systems,” said FreeWheel General Manager Dave Clark. “What we’re most excited about is the long-term implications for both publishers and advertisers, and what it means to the ultimate vision of a unified video strategy across all screens.”

Having demonstrated the value of using FreeWheel’s decisioning technology for optimizing linear schedules for age/gender ratings, FreeWheel and NBCU will roll out the capability across its channels throughout 2019. The two companies are also working toward enabling delivery based on additional criteria chosen by the advertiser — such as delivery against a particular data segment, or delivery of a specific KPI — as the industry moves toward more audience-based, results-driven advertising.

The next stage of the unification program will include the ability to optimize campaigns in-flight across linear and digital, optimize between direct sold and programmatic channels and enable household addressability. Both companies see these as critical to increasing the accessibility of television to new advertisers through greater automation while improving campaign performance.

This initiative aligns with NBCU’s overall mission to help create an ecosystem that is easier, simpler and more accessible for all advertisers. “When an advertiser places a schedule with us across any of our video properties, it needs to be easy to execute and seamless to measure consistently across platforms. The success of our recent work on optimized linear scheduling brings us one step closer to that goal,” said Krishan Bhatia, EVP, Business Operations and Strategy, Advertising, NBCUniversal. “Every solution we create should make the advertising ecosystem more accessible to any advertiser. Buying on television should be as simple as turning on your television.”

Both FreeWheel and NBCUniversal are committed to working closely with the television ecosystem to accelerate the shared industry goal of enabling unified video ad buying. FreeWheel will continue to deepen its partnership with additional clients in 2019 as they move forward on the path toward complete digital and linear unification.