NBCUniversal and Sky, both owned by Comcast, on Monday announced AdSmart, a global advanced advertising platform that will combine solutions and tech from both companies.
NBCU’s Audience Studio advanced targeting solutions will be a part of the offering alongside Sky's addressable advertising tools. Comcast said this is its first joint advertising initiative since acquiring Sky in 2018. The company beat out Fox in a U.K. regulatory auction for Sky’s publicly traded shares and shortly after agreed to buy Fox’s 39% ownership stake in the European pay TV operator.
Now Comcast is blending the advertising technologies of NBCU and Sky to offer services like linear ad spend optimization, which will use Comcast set-top box data in the U.S. and Sky set-top box data in the U.K. for a total data set of more than 50 million households.
The companies are also promising addressable advertising that can target ad delivery on the household level, digital advertising and something called contextual alignment.
NBCU said contextual alignment is currently a pilot program that can allow for artificial intelligence-based contextual media planning for TV by aligning brand messaging with relevant television scenes across national programming.
"Over the years, Sky has built a suite of advanced advertising tools, and we're excited to share them with international marketers in the United States," said Andrew Griffith, group chief operating officer at Sky, in a statement. "Together with NBCUniversal we're launching a global product unlike anything the market has seen before, that combines the quality and reach of TV with best-in-class addressability."
"The world is getting smaller, and the opportunity for international marketers to make an impact with consumers is getting bigger. The industry has demanded a global premium video offering, and now, one will finally exist," said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a statement. "NBCUniversal and Sky are committed to setting the highest possible standards and transforming the ad experience. Bringing our advanced advertising solutions under one global structure is the first step in our journey."
The combination of NBCU and Sky’s advanced advertising technologies comes ahead of Comcast’s expected 2020 launch of a new ad-supported streaming service. It will run on top of Comcast and Sky’s technology platforms and will be made available at no cost to NBCUniversal’s pay TV subscribers in the U.S. and international markets. Comcast Cable and Sky will provide the service to their combined subscribers.