Viacom Makes Advanced Advertising Deal with Comcast

Cable data on subs, Freewheel technology make targeting more efficient
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Viacom and Comcast said they are teaming up on advanced advertising.

A new long-term agreement will integrate Viacom’s targeted advertising skill and national reach with technology from Comcast’s Freewheel unit and data the on anonymized cable subscribers.

Viacom will be able to address commercials to Comcast subscribers at the household level, starting with dynamic ad insertion into video on demand content. The agreement also covers linear programming.

The deal is designed to make TV ad inventory more effective and more valuable. The new deal is part of a movement of programmers and distributors getting together to better utilize their data and technology.

Last year, Comcast and Fox Network Group began selling advertising in the video-on-demand content from Fox’s channels that is addressable at the household level through Comcast Cable. Comcast Cable already had a similar arrangement with NBCUniversal, which is part of Comcast.

Earlier this month, Comcast joined with Charter and Cox Communication to form a new advanced advertising unit at NCC Media, the rep firm they own.

Viacom, one of the partners in OpenAP, the consortium formed to standardize and simplify buying media based on data-generated target audiences, got some data from Comcast last week when NBCUniversal joined OpenAP. According to that announcement, “advertisers and agencies using OpenAP will now benefit from the Freewheel Shared Insights Platform, one informed by non-personally identifiable set-top-box viewing data from Comcast for specific advertising campaign planning purposes.”

Last year, when Viacom renewed its distribution deal with Charter, it included plan to collaborate on using anonymized data from Charter set-top boxes for advanced advertising. Viacom and Charter will also be co-producing original content exclusively for Charter subscribers in the U.S.

For Viacom, the deals are part of CEO Bob Bakish’s strategy to be more collaborative with distributors.

“Today’s announcement reflects Viacom’s commitment to developing more expansive relationships with our distributors. This new partnership with Comcast and FreeWheel builds on Viacom’s connections with valuable, diverse audiences and Comcast’s reach and data leadership, to create an advanced advertising platform with scale and sophistication,” said Kern Schireson, executive VP chief data officer at Viacom. “Marketers increasingly demand the ability to reach the right customers at the right time in a premium, trusted environment, and this transformative partnership furthers our ability to unlock greater value for our brand partners and accelerate the future of television advertising.”

Under the new partnership, Viacom and Comcast will work together to monetize premium ad inventory in premium content through better targeting and addressability.

Viacom will use features of FreeWheel’s ad management technology, including Holistic Advertising Management to monetize across all screens, and its Unified Monetization Platform.

Comcast acquired FreeWheel in 2014.

“Viacom and FreeWheel have a shared goal of enhancing the value of the entire TV ecosystem,” said David Clark, EVP and General Manager, FreeWheel. “To do so, we believe in a shared vision of a TV and premium video unification roadmap that will accelerate the integration of TV’s broad reach and quality content with advanced cross-platform targeting, measurement and optimization capabilities.”

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