- NBCUniversal has partnered with Holler, a conversational media company focused on the peer-to-peer messaging space, according to an announcement.
- The network owner is looking to tap into Holler's Suggestion AI technology that generates contextually relevant content in real-time, along with its ad operations and creative studio. Holler, for its part, gets access to NBCUniversal's deep well of IP, talent, sales expertise and scale, including the data-driven One Platform for marketers.
- As part of the deal, the two companies created shareable stickers on Venmo that apply Suggestion AI to analyze the context of user payments and serve up a relevant piece of flair. NBCUniversal continues to expand its social monetization offerings to account for changing consumer habits, with a clear eye on the mobile category.
NBCUniversal is making a bigger bet on conversational media through the tie-up with Holler. In a crowded streaming field and as cord-cutting continues to accelerate, the network is seeking new ways of engaging digital-first audiences and courting dollars from brands eager to reach those elusive eyeballs.
With the Venmo activations, NBCUniversal is trying to help brands connect with consumers through "tentpole moments," whether they be local or national. Payments made around a red carpet event or live sports game might promote a contextually relevant suggestion from a company or piece of IP, helping to create an impact outside of the traditional advertising arena. Branded stickers are a fairly common marketing tactic on Venmo, with companies including Ikea, Subway and Stella Artois having used the peer-to-peer payments platform to raise awareness.
Holler, which rebranded from Emogi in 2019, claims to service upwards of 1 billion messages per day. It is currently working with other networks, such as Disney, where it is part of the entertainment giant's Disney Accelerator program. Holler previously ran a pilot program for Disney+ and will kick off a second campaign for the streamer tomorrow (Nov. 12) that features "tappable sticker content," according to a news release. The NBCUniversal announcement bills its partnership with Holler as "exclusive."
Linking with NBCUniversal could help Holler scale its business at a time when conversational media remains relatively niche. Krishan Bhatia, president and chief business officer of NBCUniversal Advertising and Partnerships, in a press statement described digital messaging as a "rapidly growing" space.
Elsewhere, NBCUniversal appears to be eyeing more social and mobile opportunities. The network recently sent out a request for proposal (RFP) to major social platforms around strategic partnerships related to the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, Ad Age reported. Apple News, Snap, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and Meta — the company formerly known as Facebook — have responded to the RFP and a formal roster of partners is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, the report said.