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Brief Published: 23 Jul 2020

NBCUniversal Reinvents the Ad Break

NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service launched in July

NBCUniversal has revealed a suite of new advertising formats that capitalise on the interactive opportunities of digital streaming to turn passive attention into actively engaging moments.

The US broadcaster presented a total of 11 new formats in July. The most compelling concepts aim to reposition ad breaks as opportunities for brands to connect audiences with creatives and issues they are passionate about.

For instance, 1:1 Talent Surprise will let viewers and talent interact via video chat during an ad slot, courtesy of that night's sponsor. The chance of a digital meet 'n' greet with talent while watching their show will be a powerful audience incentive.

Meanwhile, the (This) Matters format will give brands from sectors like healthcare, tech, style and personal travel an opportunity to tell editorial, topical stories. And 1221 Films will offer long-form branded content opportunities for marketers, turning advertising into engagement hubs around audience concerns.

Combining audience engagement with informative branded content, Next Gen News will empower Gen Z creators to make news stories for their generation alongside a brand sponsor. This feeds directly into a rising demand for brands to provide platforms for the voices of Gens Z and Alpha, as highlighted in Kids World: Pop Culture for Alpha Consumers.

These proposals will let brands play a more substantial role in consumers' media diet, and combat negative sentiment towards ad breaks as something that takes audiences out of their enjoyment. They are also well-timed to coincide with the launch in July of NBCUniversal's video-streaming service Peacock, which will have a free, ad-supported tier.

For more on how broadcasters can capitalise on new digital audience engagement strategies, check out Post-SXSW Media Trends and Next-Gen Sports Fandom.