4. TV networks race into data-based ad sales
In 2017, the NBCU's "Audience Studio," the group that manages its advertising data platform, had over 500 clients buy ads based off of audience data — not Nielsen ratings — a 50% increase year over year, Axios has learned.
The company has sold roughly $1 billion of data-based ads over the past year, and plans to meet the same goal over the next year.
Now, the whole industry is catching on:
- AMC announced last week its building a data-driven ad sales operation called "AMCN Agility" to better compete with networks like NBC and Fox.
- Fox, Turner and Viacom last year created "Open AP," a consortium of audience-based ad targeting that leverages data across the three networks. The company says that 800 media agency accounts have been created so far.
- Audience-based advertising has been a central argument made by AT&T throughout its merger trial with the DOJ.
Why it matters: The rise of streaming and multi-device content consumption has forced marketers to think differently about the most effective way to reach their audiences, and that often means using audience data, not traditional TV ratings, as a currency for television ad buying.
But, but, but: Audience-based ad buying, while growing, it still a very small portion of overall TV ad-buying — accounting for only 10%, roughly, of total TV advertising. And Nielsen, which often gets a bad rap for being "behind the times" is involved in the technology that's powering some of these networks' efforts, like Open AP.
Go deeper: NBC's efforts to take the lead in data-based TV advertising.