Google Brings a Taste of Online to Traditional Media, Part III: NBC Joins the Mix

Closely related to our recent ongoing coverage of Google’s offline media efforts (TKG client Advisory released Friday as well), the company has signed a deal with NBC Universal to further push ad buying through its Google TV Ads platform.

Google TV is essentially an offshoot of AdWords that lets companies create, target and track television ads. This brings a greater level of transparency to offline ad campaign reporting and its effect on online traffic, leads and conversions. In parallel, it’s pushing similar efforts for other offline media, including print and radio.

The deal with NBCU can be seen as a channel play and will serve to market and push this capability to national advertisers, which Google hasn’t traditionally reached in this manner. It also makes the Google TV Ads product itself more appealing to existing advertisers with more direct distribution on NBCU properties. At the onset, this inventory includes the SciFi network, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth and Chiller.

The deal will involve a revenue share as well as joint access to the aggregate data that come out of the system — possibly valuable market research on evolving advertiser behavior. Under the terms, NBCU will also maintain “ownership” of its direct advertisers and agencies. While this is a clear move to prevent the disintermediation that has many traditional media firms fearful of Google and such deals, I’m not sure there is a way to completely prevent it from happening, at least indirectly.

Mostly, this seems like a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them” — where some traditional media companies are beginning to realize they should be early movers in working with Google. We’ve seen a similar concept in the mobile world lately, with carriers starting to work with technology companies to bring us better devices. AT&T started the trend by partnering with Apple and now there is no going back — others will have to follow suit to stay competitive (the TMobile/Android tie-up is one example).

We’ll begin to see the same thing with traditional media companies working with Google to bring online analytics into the mix. This goes against their traditional models, but they could be compelled to do it more and more for both competitive edge as well as growing advertiser awareness/demand.

Expect more deals for Google TV Ads, and parallel deals to continue to form in print and radio. The company has already gotten a head start in these areas with partnerships with Clear Channel in radio and hundreds of newspapers for print ads.

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