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19 December 2019

TVSquared impresses enough to land NBC homerun, Peacock next?

An Edinburgh-based video data analytics company called TVSquared is really making a name for itself at Comcast. Clearly impressing the US cable TV giant with its work on the Instant Impact project, TVSquared has already been expanded to NBCUniversal to spread the love of its attribution expertise to more channels and more advertisers.

This is massive. It includes all 42 regional sports networks owned and operated by NBC and its Spanish language subsidiary Telemundo. But above all else, it implies that TVSquared could be part of the plans for NBCU’s forthcoming ad-supported streaming service Peacock. After all, TVSquared unifies the measurement of linear and OTT ad buys into a single platform – and Peacock looks almost certain to include an ad-carrying streaming vehicle alongside a subscription tier.

TVSquared’s expertise is in driving campaign performance, promising 25% reduction in cost per response and a 30% increase in sales or registrations. It has a prediction tool to identify the best TV buy opportunities for optimizing spend – delivering what it calls always-on TV analytics at macro and granular levels.

TV Squared claims the long-term effect of a TV campaign is as much as five times more effective than the initial response (from days to weeks) – with performance analytics able to capture ad stock and longer-term brand effect.

Back in August, the Effectv cable advertising division (formerly Comcast Spotlight until a month ago) launched Instant Impact, a new product aimed at providing campaign performance feedback to advertisers – for which TVSquared provides the attribution data. This is now integrated with a platform from Ampersand, an ad tech vendor jointly owned by Comcast, Charter and Cox.

Ampersand is the product of an announcement from April 2018 stating that a data-driven video advertising unit will launch within NCC Media, the cable media group also owned by the trio Comcast, Charter and Cox. Comcast’s Media 360 advertising arm is combining resources with the partner firms to design, deploy and sell unified ad packages across NCC’s footprint in the US, delivering targeted audiences across linear and VoD platforms – using non-personally identifiable data and targeting capabilities.

“In the past 12 months, we’ve made several enhancements to the way our sales teams do business to help us showcase the power and reach of local TV,” said an understatement from Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer for NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “From measuring ad campaigns through impressions and through multiple currencies, to now providing our clients with same-day attribution, the tools at our disposal will help our ad sales teams better serve advertisers/clients, while allowing us to stay on the vanguard of our rapidly changing media industry.”

Comcast’s ad tech push has become increasingly convoluted. As well as embracing the Sky AdSmart addressable technology and launching its own On Addressability initiative, Spotlight was recently rebranded to Effectv, as mentioned earlier, a move which again is all about emphasizing addressable ad technology.

Effectv now has two new products – Audience Intelligence and Addressable Full Avail. The former is about targeting data-driven linear TV campaigns at the local, regional and national level – going beyond age and gender demographics to encompass more specific audiences. Addressable Full Avail is a little more complex, on the surface at least, because this is directly connected to the separate On Addressability push announced earlier this year. So, we are essentially looking at a rebrand within a rebrand.

While the guts of Peacock won’t be revealed until the new year, we know that live streaming will complement Peacock’s 15,000 hours of on-demand content, including Olympics 2020 rights, late night entertainment shows and news. Pricing is yet to be determined although there will be a tier completely free to Comcast Xfinity subscribers.

Reports claim NBCUniversal is pitching two flavors of package to initial ad partners for Peacock’s launch – one at $25 million and another at $15 million. The more expensive offer will get you a guaranteed 10% slice of ad space for 18 months, while the cheaper one is for 10% over 6 months. After 6 months, buyers of the $15 million package will get a reduced share of 5% – freeing up space for additional marketers to come in. But initially, it means only a limited availability of 10 slots.

So, somewhere in the great Comcast and NBCUniversal empire, TVSquared has slid in and is now serving up transparent, attributed campaign performance insights. It was only about six weeks ago that Faultline declared “Comcast should just go ahead and acquire TVSquared already” – and the point still stands.