- Marketers who participated in NBCUniversal's Prime Pod advertising offering saw 28% higher engagement compared to traditional ads, 27% greater ad awareness and 21% higher brand interest, according to an Ameritest study cited in a blog post by the network. The Prime Pod is a 60-second ad segment that runs in the first or last commercial break of a primetime show and is open to up to two advertisers.
- Prime Pod ads also led to an 8% increase in purchase consideration and 12% higher search engagement. The format also performed well in delivering new information about products and services to consumers, as unaided recall grew 36%, purchase intent increased 18% and the intent to learn jumped 33%.
- NBCUniversal said it will expand Prime Pod to its entire TV network portfolio beyond primetime programming to include daytime shows, like NBC's "Today" and E!'s "E! News' Daily Pop" and late-night TV.
The high engagement levels of NBC's Prime Pod, which launched in Q4 2018, offer promising results for TV networks, which are unveiling new ad offerings to attract marketers at a time when many are shifting their budgets to digital platforms. NBC announced the Prime Pod last year in an effort to cut primetime ad time by 10% and the number of ads by 20% to reduce clutter and heighten viewer experience. The network plans to trim ad time by another 10% this year, and reduce video ad load and ad clutter each by another 20% in primetime by 2020.
The Prime Pod demonstrates how TV networks are responding to the rise in cord cutting and hoping to lure advertisers with exclusive placement, and the results appear to be paying off. NBC also said it would use artificial intelligence to scan TV show scripts and match advertisers to the show's content for the Prime Pod, which advertisers reportedly paid a premium price for.
NBC also announced new ad formats, including a picture-in-picture format and social commercials, where brands could sponsor or be integrated into a pod including real-time social media commentary from fans. NBCUniversal also will launch a new attribution tool to measure consumer outcomes, following a partnership with STX Films for a campaign for "The Upside." NBC offered a sales guarantee that TV commercials on its networks would drive sales for the film distributor.
To compete with online streaming services, like Netflix, which are seeing viewership growth, NBCUniversal also has plans to launch a free ad-supported streaming service for pay-TV subscribers in 2020. The product will cost $12 a month for consumers who don't subscribe to pay TV.