NBC rolls out mobile video ads with help from Kiptronic

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NBC rolls out mobile video ads with help from Kiptronic
NBC rolls out mobile video ads with help from Kiptronic

NBC shows such as The Office and 30 Rock aren't just popular on television. The network also makes full episodes of these and other shows available to consumers online and through the mobile phone. And, noticing strong use of the latter channel for content viewing, NBC sought a way to translate its partners' online ads to the mobile phone.

"NBC Universal has this vision to put video on every platform we can in the digital space, and we want to make sure we bring our brand partners along with us," said Steve Andrade, SVP and GM for NBC.com. "For those advertisers who buy The Office on air, they'd also like to be part of it online and on mobile, and we wanted to give the advertisers a one-stop shop."

Enter Kiptronic, a mobile services provider that worked with NBC to develop a software-as-a-service (SAAS) program through which NBC and its partners could use the same video ad creative both online and on the mobile phone.

"NBC said, 'Hey, we know where [mobile video] is going, we need a way that keeps us in control, that allows us to easily publish content, allow our sales people to traffic ads into this content — we need it to work like Web video,'" explained Bill Loewenthal, president and chief executive for Kiptronic. "That's not easy, because the way browser-based online video ad
serving works is completely different than what's in mobile. Up until now, if companies really want to participate in mobile video, it had been a siloed, separate process [from online video] in how companies have to distribute, host and measure their advertising, and it doesn't fit into their workflow. " 

The Kiptronic platform works in concert with NBC.com's existing Web-based advertising infrastructure, which depends on DoubleClick's Dart product to serve ads and measure impressions. The mobile video ads run as pre-, mid- and post-rolls during episodes of NBC shows.

"One of our main challenges was to find a solution that could help us get integrated with the normal, familiar tools our advertisers use," said Robert Angelo, director of mobile for NBC.com. "In this case, the Dart server [is] where [advertisers] serve the ads and track the ads and impressions. We worked directly with Kiptronic and pretty much created this workflow and helped them build out this product to allow us to dynamically serve our ads to the mobile space the same way as online."

Loewenthal believes that this is a first step toward improved options for advertisers on the mobile phone. "Publishers want to be able to run multiple ad campaigns so they can maximize the revenue on their content and serve multiple advertisers, and they want to better target that to the end user," he said. "Then there's the idea of tying it into banners on the WAP pages and everything, and you'll see that all happening."

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