Comcast Plots Big Push in Web Video Ads

As debate over Comcast’s control of Internet and TV in American households plays out in front of regulators reviewing its bid for Time Warner Cable, the cable industry leader is quietly planning a major foray into the Web advertising business.

Comcast will aim to help “premium” video producers such as Disney, FOX, Viacom and Time Warner manage and sell ad space on Web-based video services. To do so, Comcast will rely on its traditional NBC TV and cable ad-sales businesses, which generate about $10 billion annually, and include the ability to serve ads on shows viewed on-demand through cable boxes or on its Xfinity website. It will develop a “marketplace” for premium ad inventory that includes non-NBC video websites, says one person who has been involved in its video strategy.

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While Comcast is getting into Google's turf, Google once tried—and failed—to get into Comcast's. In 2012, Google ended a five-year effort to help cable companies and satellite operators sell their TV ad inventory, largely because it couldn't get enough partners. Comcast declined to work with Google.


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People involved in Comcast’s strategy say the company believes its scale and the ability to offer just high-quality video ad space from well-known TV networks and other video sites will allow it to fetch higher prices.