Sky Media is bringing the CFlight multiscreen metric developed by NBCUniversal (also part of Comcast) to Europe, starting in the UK this autumn and hitting its international territories (Ireland, Germany/Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Spain) next year. CFlight is billed as the industry’s first unified advertising metric that captures all live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions on any screen and at Sky it will be adopted across all its content and platforms.
NBCU and Sky believe CFlight is the basis for a global standard in cross-platform measurement and its adoption in Europe is an important step towards this goal. Notably, Viacom in the US has adopted the CFlight methodology, demonstrating an appetite beyond Comcast-owned properties. NBCU expects more uptake for the system Stateside. NBCU/Sky have scale on their side –Sky can take CFlight to an additional 23 million homes in its seven European countries.
NBCU is talking about CFlight as an open-source solution that can overcome industry boundaries. It should be emphasised that this does not affect Sky’s commitment to BARB Dovetail, the UK’s next-generation ‘Total TV’ measurement solution.
Launched in 2018, CFlight was created in response to shifting audience viewing habits and the inability of legacy US metrics to accurately capture impressions. As we reported last year, almost half of viewing on some NBCU programmes would not be captured using only the traditional ratings measurement system.
CFlight makes it easier for marketers to plan and manage a campaign that will deliver them a target number of impressions into their target audience whether that audience is found watching broadcast linear TV, live streaming or online VOD. It means media owners can include non-broadcast (multiscreen/digital) viewing in campaign performance (e.g. audience reach) guarantees.
As a consequence, a serious effort has been made to provide consistency for what constitutes a view across all platforms. Only digital impressions that are viewed to completion count towards the audience total that NBCU (and now Sky) is tasked with delivering to an advertiser. That is in a world where some digital media companies charge as soon as someone has seen two-seconds of a 30-second ad.
CFlight measures co-viewing (like two people in front of a connected TV) where possible. This takes us closer to the people-based marketing that matters to the advertising industry. Buyers get more accurate reach figures and media owners can prove audiences that were possibly thought to be lost to TV.
The next-gen metric harnesses leading measurement sources like Nielsen in the US and soon BARB in the UK. NBCU already takes inputs from ComScore and Moat. Thus, third-party verification is a key part of the ‘offer’ to advertisers.
Sky and NBCU summarise the importance of CFlight like this. “It provides marketers with one measurement that encompasses all types of viewing, from OTT co-watching to linear and beyond, illustrating the unparalleled power of buying across all video. In both the US and UK, CFlight is inherently flexible, able to measure and leverage distributed platforms in digital and support any commercial impression, regardless of the delivery mechanism.”
According to John Litster, Managing Director at Sky Media UK: “Sky offers viewers the ability to watch all their favourite programmes live, on-demand, via catch-up, at home in front of the TV or on their mobile while on the go. Now, with CFlight we can give advertisers consistent, accurate measurement across all platforms and types of viewing — a first for the UK. We also continue to support the mission of BARB in the UK to deliver an industry-wide view.”
The introduction of CFlight in Europe follows the export of Sky’s AdSmart addressable advertising system to Comcast/NBCU in the USA. The companies say they are creating a global premium video offering that unifies their advanced advertising capabilities.
“NBCUniversal and Sky are continuing their mission of creating a one-of-a-kind offering, making it easy for advertisers to reach customers in key international markets and measure results across NBCUniversal and Sky’s extensive TV and digital portfolio.”
Kavita Vazirani, Executive Vice President of Insights & Measurement at NBCUniversal, says: “The consumer appetite for premium video content is stronger than ever and global consumers are not going back in time. They are watching premium video across a wide range of screens, and it is imperative that the industry comes together and develops new measurement to match.”