Microsoft, NBC Universal to Collaborate on Television Ads

Microsoft's Admira application, which allows users to monitor and target television ads to specific audiences, will be used by NBC Universal to focus its broadcast and cable advertising. After a test run in the Los Angeles market, NBC Universal will use Admira for select ad inventory starting in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Microsoft and NBC Universal will collaborate to sell broadcast and cable advertising using the former's Admira television media marketplace, in a deal announced on June 18.

Admira aggregates data from across multiple systems and then marries that to both purchase and geo-demographic data, allowing advertisers and agencies to pinpoint specific audiences for ads. The system can also optimize ad placements based on viewership data.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NBC Universal's plans for Admira exist on two fronts. For larger advertisers, it will use the application's planning tools to boost existing agency relationships and more accurately target specific audience segments; for relationships with small-to-midsize clients, Admira's automated planning, buying, posting and billing functions will be utilized in a streamlining capacity.

The ultimate goals will include boosting ROI for advertisers and testing the viability of next-generation metrics and processes. The NBC Local Media group already conducted a test run of Admira in the Los Angeles market in March 2009; based off the successful results of that test, NBC Universal plans to make select ad inventory available for broadcast and cable networks in the fourth quarter of 2009.

"Teaming with NBCU brings the planning, buying and selling of television inventory squarely into the digital realm," Scott Howe, corporate vice president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft, said in a statement. "Data-driven software is going to continue serving as a catalyst to help advertisers solve their biggest media challenges."

Admira was developed by Navic Networks, a company that Microsoft acquired in June 2008. Navic's goal has been to develop tools that monitor television advertising. Following the acquisition, Navic became a part of Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) Group, which focuses on television and video advertising.