Comcast eyeing big brands with new data-driven addressability offer

Comcast Spotlight rebrands as Effectv

The ad sales unit of Comcast Cable has two new products meant to bring more data into the TV ad buying process.

Comcast Spotlight had spent the last year piloting an audience intelligence and addressability tool that are now widely available. Maria Weaver, chief marketing office of Comcast Advertising, said the products are more for “larger clients”.

“Everyone is looking for more data in order to be sure they're reaching the person they're trying to reach,” Weaver told The Drum. “We will use it to attract new businesses and new clients for sure, but we are looking forward to partnering with our existing clients to expand existing opportunities.”

The audience intelligence tool combines Comcast set-top-box data with third-party data from Polk and Experian to build more granular audience profiles that go beyond the typical age and gender profiles of TV.

The addressable tool is the next step, letting advertisers choose up to five different creatives for a given 30-second spot. For instance, an auto brand can buy a particular spot across all of Comcast, but air different creatives on different TVs depending on the makeup of each household.

“We've always been able to offer our clients the opportunity to reach their consumers through geography or through content, but now what we're saying is you can target them into the home,” said Weaver.

To drive this message home, Comcast Spotlight is rebranding as Effectv.

“Our new name, Effectv, reflects our commitment to drive better performance for our advertising clients,” said Marcien Jenckes, president of Comcast Advertising. “By applying data to television advertising in new ways, across all screens, and making it easier to buy than ever before, we’re transforming TV advertising. We combine the targeting and measurement of digital, with the reach and impact of television – an unbeatable combination.”

Weaver said that the group’s key goal is to verify that “TV advertising is having an impact” in digital, and that the company will “continue to iterate” its attribution products, such as including measurement of in-store visits.

Comcast isn’t the only player touting that winning combination. Industry consortiums Ampersand (formerly NCC Media), OpenAP and Project OAR are all boasting their data-drive, addressability-at-scale offerings.

Comcast is part-owner of Ampersand, along with fellow cable operators Cox and Charter. Weaver said Comcast’s new offerings will also be available through Ampersand.

NBCUniversal, which Comcast owns, is also a part of OpenAP and Project OAR. Weaver said industry collectives looking to modernize TV buying is a positive, but that addressability isn’t the only answer.

“If clients start going to only addressable products, I think you can over-target,” said Weaver. “I think we've seen that in the digital space. So it's an exciting time because we're all trying to solve for it, but hopefully what we're also doing is looking at it through that lens.”

Barely edging out AT&T, Comcast is America’s largest cable operator with over 20.4 million subscribers. (AT&T outpaces Comcast when including customers of its over-the-top services.)

Like other cable operators, Comcast typically takes two minutes of ad time per hour from its TV programmers to sell addressable ads.

Comcast Spotlight in September launched TV Ad Planner, a self-service ad buying platform aimed at small businesses.

Weaver said the audience and addressable tools are more for bigger businesses. Though the company wouldn’t name clients of the new services, Comcast is working with a furniture retail chain and European luxury auto brand, among others.

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