NBC Universal to Use Microsoft's Admira Marketplace to Plan and Sell National and Local Ad Inventory

--Microsoft Acquired Admira through its Purchase Last Year of Interactive TV Company, Navic

NBC Universal and Microsoft announced an "alliance," Thursday, that will see NBC Universal using Microsoft's Admira television media marketplace to plan and sell national and local broadcast and cable advertising inventory. Microsoft acquired Admira through its purchase, almost exactly a year ago, of interactive TV and advanced advertising technology provider, Navic, which still retains a separate corporate identity within the Microsoft organization.

According to the companies, their deal follows a successful test of Admira in Los Angeles in March by the NBC Local Media group. NBCU says it will make available select inventory from both its national broadcast and cable networks for its alliance with Microsoft, which is set to begin in the fourth quarter. According to the company, it will deploy Admira in two ways: 1) for larger advertisers, Admira will enhance NBCU's existing agency relationships by providing new planning tools for data-driven targeting and segmenting of specific audiences across its broadcast and cable networks; and 2) for small- to mid-sized advertisers, Admira will enable an automated planning, buying, posting and billing process across many of NBCU's national broadcast TV properties and across select local TV properties, the company says. "This is all about improving ROI for clients and experimenting with next-generation metrics and processes," Mike Pilot, NBCU's president of sales and marketing, said in a prepared statement. "Admira can help clients efficiently plan, buy and engage specific audience segments across the breadth of our broadcast and cable properties, enhancing the close relationships we have with all of our agency and client partners."

According to Microsoft, by aggregating multiple sources of anonymous viewership data from satellite and cable systems and then overlaying that with purchase and geo-demographic data, Admira creates a "unique national panel" that it uses to help advertisers reach their desired audience composition. As a result, the company says, advertisers and agencies can buy audiences that might otherwise have been overlooked by other TV advertising platforms and measurement technologies. It claims that Admira continuously optimizes ad placements in response to near-real-time viewership data, in order to ensure that advertisers get the right messages in front of the right audiences. "NBC Local Media began testing the Admira system in March with inventory from LA's Universal Sports Network digital channel and added inventory from KNBC, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles, in the spring," Frank Comerford, NBC Local Media's president of platform development and commercial operations, said in a prepared statement. "Our initial test of the system in LA is off to a great start. Admira provides us with the potential to help attract an entirely new segment of advertisers to the local marketplace, particularly small and mid-size businesses that might not otherwise be able to buy local television station advertising, which is a huge leap forward."

Microsoft and NBCU say that Vivaki, an arm of the Publicis Groupe that includes the latter's Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia and Digitas subsidiaries, will be among the first agencies to use Admira to help its clients plan and buy media when they roll it out later this year.

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