In a sign of the times, NBCU’s NewFronts pitch leans on brand safety
The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts kick off this week, so cue the brand-safety pitches. One of the first comes from NBCUniversal, which, though not part of the actual NewFronts lineup, is pitching the market on a new way of buying its short-form video.
NBCU Choice bundles video across NBCU’s own clips from its shows like “Mr. Robot” and “Krypton” as well as short-form video from the partners it sells for, BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Snapchat and Apple News. An estimated 50 percent of that inventory exists on YouTube. With the many public ad-safety debacles that YouTube has had this past year or so on other channels, NBCU saw an opportunity.
“There’s enormous demand from clients for brand-safe video, and places they’ve been buying from aren’t delivering on brand safety,” said Trevor Fellows, evp of digital sales and strategy at NBCU. “But they don’t want to go brand by brand. It’s a real issue.”
NBCU defines “short-form” video as anything that’s not episodic, which is priced lower than long-form video and has the advantage of having less ad clutter by virtue of its shorter length. Fellows said NBCU opted to sell this way because agencies tend to buy by format. NBCU isn’t requiring a minimum spend, but he said he expects deals to be at least in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars and that he’d “love to be doing in the hundreds of deals in the first year.” CPMs are expected to be in the high teens to low 20s.
NBCU Choice builds on NBCU’s move in 2015 to begin selling ads against “The Tonight Show” clips on YouTube.
There’s been a drumbeat of headlines about ads appearing next to racist, pedophilia and other offensive YouTube channels. Many marketers paused their spending on the platform, and the company has responded by adopting stricter ad policies, hiring more people to review videos and giving advertisers more control over where their ads appear. There hasn’t been a wholesale shift by advertisers off the platform in part because it’s hard to replicate those huge audiences elsewhere, though.
Fellows doesn’t have any illusions that NBCU Choice, which can reach 10s of millions of viewers, can compete with the scale of YouTube, whose users upload hundreds of hours of video a minute. But he said the benefit of NBCU’s pitch is that the content is guaranteed to be brand-safe and can be targeted to audience segments, which could end up shifting share from low-quality video. “The challenge is not YouTube as a delivery of quality — it’s YouTube as a guaranteer of brand safety,” he said.
If NBCU can offer a brand safety advantage along with a guarantee that revenue isn’t shared with owners of user-generated content, it could have some merit, said Rob Auger, vp and group director, media technology at Digitas. “The thought of advertising dollars possibly funding unethical individuals/groups makes our more conservative advertisers uncomfortable,” he said.
JoAnna Foyle, COO of video analytics firm OpenSlate, said for advertisers that don’t require huge scale, NBCU’s pitch could be a viable option. “You can get to a very clean version of YouTube, but it takes time,” she said. What you’re trading would be scale and a very different audience. Part of the reason our advertiser [clients] are committed to YouTube is, there are audiences they can’t reach elsewhere.”
We’ve asked YouTube for comment; we’ll update this story if it responds.
How the Washington Post is expanding its global subscriber base
The success that the Post saw in growing its global subscriptions business came from tactics put in place well before the pandemic.
As Q4 gathers pace, the ad industry braces for long-lasting economic trauma
While free money is being given away through economic stimuluses, it isn’t being spent. That brings opportunity and danger for an ad industry tied tightly to the economy.
Member Exclusive‘Marketing myopia’: Quibi’s flameout is a cautionary tale for advertisers keen to latch on to the next big thing in media
Advertisers bought into a vision — and a deal structure that offered little safety net if that vision wasn't realized.
SponsoredPublishers must strengthen their relationships with brands and customers
Zara Erismann, MD Publisher EU, LiveRamp In today’s market of tightening data regulations — and with the end of third-party cookies now around the corner — it is critical that publishers focus on optimizing their data strategies to ensure and strengthen close relationships with their audience. In a recent report, The State of Publishing: Monetizing […]
‘Something inherently local’: Tegna leans into user-generated content on linear and digital with ‘Near Me’
Tegna has received hundreds of thousands of user-submitted videos and photos which it says have been used to drive further reporting.
Why Nordic publishing giant Schibsted joined the coalition lobbying for Apple App Store ‘fairness’
Schibsted is one of the newest members of the Coalition for App Fairness, a group that includes the likes of Epic Games and Spotify.