Comcast opens hood on NBCU cross-promo strategy 'Symphony'

Making good on its promise to investors to turn its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal into a cross-platform-advertising powerhouse, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has pulled back the veil to its broad, multi-media advertising product, which it calls "Symphony."

Detailed in a New York Times feature, Symphony leverages not only the huge reach of the NBCUniversal broadcast and cable programming universe, but also nooks and crannies within the broader Comcast empire--walk into any of the company's new Xfinity Stores, for example, and you'll be surrounded by plush toys from the upcoming Universal Pictures sequel Minions

As the NYT notes, Comcast has been using Symphony to effectively promote its own products for several years, as the billion-dollar global box-office performance of Universal's Jurassic World demonstrates. 

But now, Comcast is selling the tool to outside parties like Microsoft, which recently used Symphony to promote its Surface 3 tablet. "The promise of the whole thing is you don't just put an ad in those properties, you get content integration and access to talent," said Kathleen Hall, corporate VP for global advertising and media at Microsoft, to the NYT.

Rival movie studios including Fox and Disney have also purchased Symphony campaigns. 

According to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser, advertisers are getting a better deal by bundling various platform buys rather than purchasing them a la carte. 

"To be as blunt as possible about it, the advertiser feels that they're getting a better deal," Wieser told NYT. "It's really about getting more for less. If you're the buyer or you're the seller, it's about getting more than you otherwise would have seen in terms of revenue."

Of course, while Comcast may have delivered on its promise to investors to deliver true vertically integrated synergy, the company has been accused by federal regulators of falling short on other pledges made for approval of the NBCU deal, such as greater ethnic diversity in programming.

Indeed, this disappointment reportedly factored in the recent rejection of Comcast's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable. 

For more:
- read this New York Times story

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