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NBCUniversal launches what it hopes will be the 'largest premium ecosystem' for mobile ads

Stephen 'Steve' Burke, president and chief executive officer of NBCUniversal.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Stephen 'Steve' Burke, president and chief executive officer of NBCUniversal.

Some advertisers may be wary about Google's YouTube over concerns about ads being placed next to offensive content — and have questions about Facebook's measurement tools — but they're still looking to buy premium digital advertising.

To that end, NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC, announced Wednesday a deal with mobile ad company Kargo to launch what it calls "the world's largest premium ecosystem for mobile advertising."

They aim to provide one-stop shopping to place ads on 300 premium properties from 70 media companies.

Now when advertisers come to NBCUniversal, they'll be able to not only buy ads across the company's digital and traditional platforms, but also across the premium mobile sites for whom Kargo sells ads — venues from Hearst to NYTimes.com. Together NBCUniversal and Kargo will offer advertisers access to over 171 million people.

"With this joint bundle advertisers will get massive reach and frequency across all NBC properties and all of Kargo's content partners," Kargo CEO Harry Kargman said. "It's the perfect combination of premium content and premium ad tech."

The deal follows NBCUniversal's partnership with Apple News to sell ad inventory, announced last fall.

NBCUniversal is looking to boost advertiser commitments during the coming "upfronts" ad sales period, when the broadcasters unveil their upcoming TV shows the first week in May. While none of its rival companies are taking a similar approach to this Kargo partnership, a number are putting technology front and center to better compete with Google and Facebook. Viacom, Fox and Turner are partnering to use big data to enable more targeted ad buying on TV, and CBS is pitching "total content ratings" that go beyond linear TV watching and include DVR playback and video on demand, with plans to eventually include online and mobile streaming data.

With traditional TV ratings down from last year, there's more pressure than ever for broadcasters to show just how many people are watching across devices, and how much more targeted their ad delivery can become.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly reflect online venues where Kargo sells ads.