Comcast to share viewer data with NBCUniversal

Four years after Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) closed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the entertainment and media conglomerate finally has access to the cable parent's set-top data.

Linda Yaccarino, NBCU's chair of advertising sales and client partnerships, announced the policy change Thursday, while speaking at NBCU's upfront presentation to advertisers, an event covered by the New York Post, Broadcasting & Cable, and other outlets.

Viewer data from Comcast set-tops will be added to NBCU's existing Audience Targeting Platform, an existing tool in which NBCU is gathering third-parting audience data for the purpose of enhancing its overall ad-sales pitch to sponsors.

"By combining television viewing data with other consumer data, NBCUniversal can more effectively allocate high value television inventory to optimize client media plans," Yaccarino said of the enhanced ATP, which originally launched in January. 

Viewer data from set-tops has become a valuable asset for cable operators, with companies like Cablevision able to package this data and sell it to content companies like ESPN/Disney.

It would seem a no-brainer that Comcast, the No. 1 cable operator, would use this data to help its own entertainment conglomerate compete. However, due to privacy concerns, Comcast was reportedly reluctant to share its data across corporate channels in the regulatory run-up of the eventually scrubbed Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) merger. 

In an interview with Ad Week, Andrew Ward, group VP, Comcast Media 360, said, "We only use data in an anonymzed, unidentifiable way. We developed a set of guidelines and a short opt-out policy for subscribers, should they choose not to participate in this marketing strategy." 

For more:
- read this New York Post story
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story

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