UPDATED: NBCU, Microsoft Forge Ad Inventory Deal

Microsoft's Admira to be used to sell national, local inventory for NBCU

Filed at 10:40 a.m. EST on June 18, 2009.  Updated at 3:30 p.m.

NBC Universal agreed to a deal with Microsoft Corp. Thursday to use Microsoft's Admira television media marketplace to plan and sell national and local ad inventory for both broadcast and cable.

Admira will be deployed to enhance NBCU's relationships with existing agencies with new planning tools for targeting specific audiences through data-driven segmenting. Admira enables automated planning, buying, posting, and billing for small to midsize clients.

The service aggregates sources of anonymous viewership data from cable and satellite systems and overlays it with demographic and purchase data. Admira enhances ad placements with near-real-time viewership data.

NBC Universal President sales and marketing, Mike Pilot, explained that the electronic interface allows for, "a buyer, or client or media planner or seller on my side, to really efficiently access inventory...by network, by program genre and layers on targeting capability." The Microsoft technology also allows for psychographic and behavioral data to be fused with demographic data. The ambition is to bring the sometimes antiquated business of TV advertising in line with internet-like behavioral targeting.

Pilot further explained Admira's application saying an advertiser might come to an NBC Universal property in search of a target customer and have data about how old she is, where she lives, her lifestyle characteristics and purchase intent and then ask, "Tell me where she lives and what she watches on the portfolio," he added.

The NBC Local Media group tested Admira in March to buy and sell local inventory in Los Angeles. NBCU is making some inventory available from its national broadcast and cable networks as part of the alliance. The launch is set for the fourth quarter of 2009. Microsoft and NBC Universal will share any additional revenue generated by Admira.

NBC Universal has been aggressive about testing new technology to update the business of selling TV inventory. The company has also been partners with Google for the past nine months, testing Google TV ads which is different from the Microsoft offering in that it has an auction component; with Admira, NBC Universal sets the marketprice. "We are getting learnings through access to second by second data and we're testing TV ads and making it available to longer tail advertisers; those were our goals."