5Qs: NBC Universal’s Peter Naylor

Peter Naylor is the evp of digital media sales for NBCUniversal. He oversees advertising sales for the company’s digital properties including NBC.com, CNBC.com, SyFy.com, Bravotv.com, USANetwork.com, AccessHollywood.com, and iVillage. Naylor spearheaded the launch of the Universal Audience Platform, a “first party” online ad network of 21 NBCU owned-and-operated digital properties reaching more than 60 million unique users each month. Naylor spoke to DIGIDAY about the changing landscape of digital advertising.

How has your strategy evolved to meet the demands of a changing audience landscape? How about the needs of advertisers seeking the best value online, via TV and via mobile? 
When we talk with advertisers about the changing landscape, we always do it from a fact based point of view. We have 20 consecutive quarters of research, for example, that reveal how consumers interact with our full episode video player. We know that consumers who watch our shows online are largely complementary to the on-air audience because they are catching up or sampling shows i.e. activity that otherwise would not have been possible without the media offering. Bringing consumer insights to advertisers helps them understand why all screens need to be a part of their media plan. Further, we know that advertising messages that are threaded through like programming on-air and on-line have greater brand impact on consumers.
How do the changing methods of premium content delivery — mobile, online, TV — produce benefits for brands seeking to bring their messages to new audiences? 
The biggest opportunity offered to marketers with all the “new” platforms is simply around interactivity. Linear television is a one way broadcast. Web and Mobile are two way platforms and on many VOD platforms the consumer can initiate a Request For Information (RFI). The creative opportunity is the dialogue. The creative challenge is to initiate the dialogue.
There is a lot of controversy about consumer privacy issues and how that impacts a brand’s or content provider’s ability to connect with users. What’s your take?
It’s important to point out that we don’t trade in personally-identifiable information and that consumers have more control over their data via browser setting and other technology than they do in the real world. Consumers enjoy a superior experience at their favorite web sites when data remembers their sign-on information, their preferences, their profiles, and more. Marketers and content providers alike are simply trying to use this information to provide more relevance to both advertising and content experiences online. Responsible brands and publishers use data to curate better experiences for consumers.
Will we hit a critical point of convergence in terms of cross-platform content? 
If media distribution channels were languages, our consumers would be multi-lingual. Consumers seek the best screen available for their content and are platform agnostic. NBCUniversal is capitalizing on the fact that convergence is here for a large part of the audience as reflected in our numerous tandem viewing experiences: From Bravo’s Talk Bubble and NBCLive to Sunday Night Football Extra and USA’s Character Chatter, NBCUniversal is already publishing converged programming experiences across our entire portfolio of properties.
How do we define an audience in an era when lifestyle and interests cut across so many traditional lines? How do we create advertising creative and advertising strategy that connects to the right content when all of the traditional parameters seem to move so frequently?
Traditionally, a company would produce ad creative, buy media against a target audience and then research impact. The first step in today’s era is acknowledging that consumers are multifaceted. They are not always playing the role of “frequent business travel” or “primary grocery shopper,” and demographic age cells are not always the best proxy to target an audience. Ad creative and ad strategy need to be informed by insights beyond the conventional models. So everything flips. Research informs media choices and media placements should inform creative execution. Research and insights are the top of the funnel.
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