A year ago when NCC Media had its first DC upfront, it was gearing up for the 2014 mid-term election. This year, the ad firm has its eyes on 2016, “the biggest and the most monumental election in the U.S. history” given the “entire new generation of voters, media consumers and technologies,” Andrew Capone, senior vice president of marketing & business development said during the company’s upfront in DC Wednesday night. It’s an election that will “require you to introduce your candidates to issues earlier and more powerfully than ever,” he said.
Between a performance by Gavin DeGraw, special appearances by “Deadliest Catch’s” Captain Keith and “Mad Men’s” Rich Sommer, Capone announced the company’s new political ad tool: Audience Plus. Developed jointly with Comcast Spotlight, Audience Plus marks NCC Media’s entrance in the programmatic advertising space. It aggregates impressions along longtail voter targeted networks to build massive voter reach. With cable viewing share on the rise compared to broadcast, political ad spending is essential to cable’s bottom line, according to Capone. Cable’s share of viewing has grown among voters 35 years and older, from 59% in 2006, to 63% in 2010 and over 70% in 3Q 2014, he said, citing research data. That’s partly driven by cable’s initiative to develop original programming. Over 75% of cable’s lineup is now original programming, Capone said, noting that ad-supported cable networks offered 148 original scripted programs last year, up from just 23 a decade ago.
Apparently to win elections it’s no longer just about the “who.” When a single county can change the outcome of an election, identifying with precision where target voters live is critically important, according to Capone. While elections will evolve over time, eight swing states representing less than 20% of the U.S. population can impact the presidential election, he said. The key? Using geo-targeting tools and leveraging voter data to pinpoint target voters based on voting history, ethnicity, political ideology and more. Cross-platform messaging is also a must-have. “Things have changed: the days of reaching voters with spots of ‘American Idol’ and nightly news are gone,” Capone said. What matters now is reaching target voters on every screen precisely where they live, work and vote. The company scored a partnership with DISH last year, combining ad impressions in more than 3 million additional DISH homes with those of NCC owners Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable in 25 of the largest markets. With cable, satellite and telco as partners, NCC expects to reach the top 50 markets by 2016.