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NBCU Standard Digital Guidelines and Specifications

This page provides standard creative guidelines and specifications for NBCUniversal’s local and national digital video inventory on connected TV (CTV, including set-top box VOD), desktop, and mobile.

The specifications on this page apply to the following NBCUniversal brands:

  • Bravo

  • CNBC

  • E!

  • Fandango

  • MSNBC

  • NBC

  • NBC News

  • NBC Sports

  • NBCUniversal-owned stations (NBC and Telemundo)

  • Peacock

  • Oxygen

  • Rotten Tomatoes

  • SYFY

  • Telemundo

  • TODAY

  • USA

Questions?

Contact @NBC Uni Specs & Guidelines

Specs and creative guidelines by ad format

The following table provides a comprehensive list of specifications and guidelines for each creative format we accept.

Supported ad lengths

The following ad lengths are accepted across NBCUniversal’s digital video portfolio (depending on content type).

  • Pre-roll – 6 seconds, 15 seconds, and 30 seconds

  • Mid-roll – 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds

  • Peacock accepts 90 seconds upon request

Livestream

  • Pre-roll – 15 seconds

  • Mid-roll – 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds (limited inventory for 60)

Speak to your account representative for more information.

Creative rotation policy

  • The maximum creatives allowed in rotation at one time is six. NBCU will review any additional creative requests on an as-needed basis.

  • No dark dates are permitted at a client level. In the event no brands are live, evergreen creative will run until brands start running again.

  • NBCU requires one tag to run across all platforms and devices.

  • For creative swaps, NBCU must receive assets at least five days before swap.

Standard digital

This page provides creative guidelines for standard digital buying across NBCU’s streaming portfolio.

 Ad format

Site-served

VAST 2.0

VAST 3.0 (YouTube skippable only)

VPAID (desktop + mobile web only)

Ad units

Pre-roll / Mid-roll

Pre-roll / Mid-roll

Pre-roll skippable

Pre-roll / Mid-roll

Renditions

N/A

4 total: mezzanine (mezz), high, medium, and low

N/A

N/A

Dimensions

1920×1080 HD

  • Mezz – 1920×1080 HD

  • High – 1920×1080 HD

  • Medium – 960×540 or 640×480

  • Low – 640×360 or 416×234

  • 16:9 – 854×480; 1280×720; 1920×1080

  • 4:3 – 480×360; 720×540; 960×720

1920×1080

Max file size

10 GB

  • Mezz – 10GB

  • High – Variable based on bitrate

  • Medium – Variable based on bitrate

  • Low – variable based on bitrate

10MB

2MB

File format

MP4 or MOV

Livestream - MOV strongly preferred; MPEG-2 (.mpg)

(warning) The file should include the ad creative only and must not require any editing or clipping before transcoding (no bars/tones, slates, etc.). Video duration must be the same length as the audio track or else the video cannot be transcoded

  • Mezz – MP4 or MOV

  • High – MP4

  • Medium – MP4

  • Low – MP4

(warning) High, medium, and low rendition VAST tags can also include MOV files, but they must include an MP4. If an MP4 is not included for each, then the asset will not pass QC and must be revised in order to run.

  • MP4

  • Other formats such as WebM can be included but may not be used.

HTML5 VPAID 2.0, Flash VPAID 2.0, or Dynamic VPAID 2.0 (containing both Flash and HTML5)

(info) Most NBCUniversal players are HTML5 compliant, but there are some exceptions.

(warning) Backup site-served or VAST 2.0 file required.

Bitrate

Greater than 15Mbps

  • Mezz – Minimum of 15 Mbps required; 30 Mbps recommended

  • High – 3.25-5 Mbps

  • Medium – 1-1.5 Mbps

  • Low – 340-460 Kbps

Must contain at least one media file under 1 Mbps

420 Kbps

Frame rate

Preferred: 29.97 fps based on native frame rate

Accepted: 23.98 or 25 fps based on native frame rate

(warning) To ensure creatives are ingested and fulfilled in the most efficient and reliable manner, deliver content in native frame rate and scan mode. NBCUniversal doesn’t accept any pre-processing of creatives (i.e., apply telecine, inverse telecine, scan mode conversion), as pre-processing degrades the creative renditions, which can negatively impact monetization and viewer experience.

Preferred: 29.97 fps based on native frame rate

Accepted: 23.98 or 25 fps based on native frame rate

(warning) To ensure creatives are ingested and fulfilled in the most efficient and reliable manner, deliver content in native frame rate and scan mode. NBCUniversal doesn’t accept any pre-processing of creatives (i.e., apply telecine, inverse telecine, scan mode conversion), as pre-processing degrades the creative renditions, which can negatively impact monetization and viewer experience.

Up to 30 fps

Preferred: 29.97 fps based on native frame rate

Accepted: 23.98 or 25 fps based on native frame rate

(warning) To ensure creatives are ingested and fulfilled in the most efficient and reliable manner, deliver content in native frame rate and scan mode. NBCUniversal doesn’t accept any pre-processing of creatives (i.e., apply telecine, inverse telecine, scan mode conversion), as pre-processing degrades the creative renditions, which can negatively impact monetization and viewer experience.

Aspect ratio

16:9

  • Mezz – 16:9

  • High – 16:9 or 4:3

  • Medium – 16:9 or 4:3

  • Low – 16:9 or 4:3

16:9 or 4:3

16:9

Video codec

  • Preferred: Apple ProRes 422 HQ codec with minimum bitrate of 800 Kbps

  • H.264 with minimum bitrate of 50 Mbps (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

  • DV, DVC Pro NTSC (DV25), DVC Pro NTSC (DV50)

(warning) Interlaced video is not accepted.

  • Mezz – Apple ProRes 422 HQ or H.264 (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

  • High – H.264 only (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

  • Medium – H.264 only (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

  • Low – H.264 only (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

(warning) Interlaced video is not accepted.

H.264 (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

(warning) Interlaced video is not accepted.

H.264 (Accepted profiles: High, Main, Baseline)

(warning) Interlaced video is not accepted.

Audio codec

  • Audio is required

  • 2 channels only

  • PCM preferred; AAC accepted

  • 192 Kbps minimum

  • Stereo 16-bit or 24-bit

  • 48 kHz sampling frequency

  • 115 KB sample size

(warning) Audio track must be the same length as the video duration or else the video cannot be transcoded.

  • Minimum of 192 Kbps

  • 48 kHz sampling frequency

  • Creative volume should not exceed content volume and must be under 2dB

  • Must follow CALM compliance loudness average of –24LKFS +/-2

  • Secure HTTPS only

MP3 or AAC preferred

  • 96 Kbps

  • 48 kHz sampling frequency

  • Creative volume should not exceed content volume and must be under 2dB

  • Must follow CALM compliance loudness average of –24LKFS +/-2

Ad countdown clock

  • Safe area is a 320×80 box for the countdown and copy.

  • Position box with the top left corner at X:128, Y:943; 128px from the left, 943 pixels from the top.

  • Baked-in captions are allowed; however, if sending creative with captions, please be mindful of the countdown clock positioning. If your text is left aligned, it will be blocked by the countdown clock.

Additional notes

Additional specs for Livestream:

  • Field dominance - Upper odd (for 29.97fps)

  • Color space - 4:2:2

  • Time code track & QuickTime wrapper

    • All 29.97 content must be drop frame

    • 23.98 must be non-drop frame

  • The mezz file required for NBCUniversal can also be used for Hulu, but creative targeted directly to Hulu must follow Hulu’s technical specs and acceptance policy.

(warning) NBCU cannot utilize Hulu’s programmatic offering; the “Third-Party Tags/Programmatic” section is not relevant.

  • For TV shows and movies, DDT (day, date, and time) is not allowed.

  • Flighting, frequency capping, and targeting to be applied by NBCUniversal only to ensure contractual obligations and guaranteed delivery.

  • URL cannot exceed 1024 characters.

  • We cannot accept blocking or filtering tags of any kind.

(warning) Stitched creatives are not accepted (e.g., we don’t accept two 15-second ads stitched together to create one 30-second ad).

(warning) Multiple durations are not allowed within the same tag. All creatives of the same duration must be on one tag. For example, all 30-second creatives must rotate on the backend of one tag instead of being split out into several tags.

  • Advertising on YouTube via NBCU Ad Sales must follow NBCU’s specs and YouTube Ads Data Hub requirements specified on Approved DSPs, Creative Hosts, and Pixels.

  • All tags must be secure and must comply with YouTube’s XML summary for VAST ad server response.

  • All tags must be served via a linear VAST tag (pre-fetch tag) by a YouTube-approved vendor.

  • Tags must not have geo, browser, or any other targeting on the 3rd-party end.

  • Ensure your ad server returns a valid crossdomain.xml file. If you choose to explicitly list domains, ensure all ad serving domains are included.

  • Although most modern updated environments are supported, VAST-served video ads are not guaranteed to run on all mobile web browsers, game consoles, or CTV devices.

  • URL cannot exceed 1024 characters.

  • We cannot accept blocking or filtering tags of any kind.

(warning) Stitched creatives are not accepted (e.g., we don’t accept two 15-second ads stitched together to create one 30-second ad).

(warning) Multiple durations are not allowed within the same tag. All creatives of the same duration must be on one tag. For example, all 30-second creatives must rotate on the backend of one tag instead of being split out into several tags.

  • URL cannot exceed 1024 characters.

  • We cannot accept blocking or filtering tags of any kind.

(warning) Stitched creatives are not accepted (e.g., we don’t accept two 15-second ads stitched together to create one 30-second ad).

(warning) Multiple durations are not allowed within the same tag. All creatives of the same duration must be on one tag. For example, all 30-second creatives must rotate on the backend of one tag instead of being split out into several tags.

Ad categories that require review

The following categories of creatives require prior approval of NBCUniversal—provided in its sole discretion—72 hours prior to campaign launch:

Require review by Standards

  • CBD products (topical, non-ingestible)

  • Controversial issues and political advertising

  • Dietary supplements

  • Fantasy sports

  • Gambling

  • Homeopathic remedies

  • Weight-loss products

Require review by Sales

  • Competitive television and streaming services

Prohibited categories

  • Adult products and services

  • Astrology, fortune telling, and psychic services

  • Cannabis and marijuana (ingestible)

  • Firearms, weapons, and fireworks

  • Get-rich-quick and pyramid schemes

  • Illegal drugs, products, services and paraphernalia

  • Lawyer advertising

  • Religious advertising

  • Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes)

Approved creative, research, and verification vendors

  • Secure 3rd-party impression tracking pixel tag (noscript tag) accepted

  • Secure research tracking pixel tag accepted (not STB)

  • Secure HTTPS tags only

  • Comcast X1 requires tracking pixels to support DualStack IPV4/IPV6 connectivity

  • Secure quartile tracking accepted

  • For a list of approved 3rd-party vendors please reference NBCU’s Approved Creative, Research & Verification Vendors

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