By Melissa Mendez

On March 15, Brian Norris, senior vice president of Ad Sales and Direct To Scale & Commerce Partnerships from NBCUniversal (NBCU), spoke to the members of the Media Management Association over Zoom to discuss the evolution of advertising sales throughout his career. Before joining NBCUniversal, Norris worked at Lifetime Television, Viacom, and Dish Network in advertising and media sales. During his last three years at NBCU, he has led the first direct-to-consumer sales team, which was designed to enable brands to scale from social platforms to ones with premium content. In this context, the term “scale” refers to discovering where the relevant audience is to improve the reach of the brand. Thus, Norris seeks to work with direct to consumer and start-up brands, to help them grow and become household names.

According to Norris, NBCUniversal is able to provide advertisers addressable opportunities with AdSmart, NBCU’s industry leading holistic suite of advanced advertising solutions that powers audience targeting and optimization as part of NBCU’s One Platform. For advanced target audiences, NBCU matches rich first-party and third-party consumer behavioral data from leading partners—including client data —to video consumption data across platforms (e.g., set-top box viewership data, multichannel video programming distributor subscriber data, device IDs), all with privacy in mind. For instance, companies have been able to collect a growing amount of data from connected television (CTV) sets (i.e., smart television sets that are connected to the Internet and can deliver streaming services). This streaming development has come at the expense of traditional linear television.

There are a few different ways brands can reach their audiences, from traditional targeting at the household level, or on the device level. Norris clarified that even when targeting on the device level, the brand is still able to take advantage of NBCU’s vast audience size. Brands also have an option with how their account is managed by AdSmart. They can choose to have their service managed by an NBCU employee, which is a bit more traditional. On the other hand, advertisers can integrate their first-party data and have more control over their account.

Norris concluded his presentation by bringing up the concern of privacy. Although there is often worry surrounding data collection, NBCU is proud to be compliant with California’s privacy laws, which are known to be the strictest in the country.

Norris’ passion for helping brands and working in the media business was evident throughout the presentation. From the start of the meeting to the Q&A, his enthusiasm for advertising sales and NBCU was contagious.