Sky, ITV, and Channel 4 recently announced that they are working together to launch CFlight, the UK television industry’s first measurement tool for ads shown on linear and video-on-demand without duplicating audiences. Developed by Sky’s fellow Comcast company NBCUniversal in the US in 2018, the business adapted the CFlight standards and methodology for the UK media market and began using the tool in 2019.
With over a year of talks, Sky decided to make CFlight become a pan-broadcaster tool that advertisers and media agencies could use, including its rivals. The device combines Barb linear TV impact data with broadcaster video-on-demand impressions from ad servers for Sky Q, ITV Hub, and All 4. CFlight does not include BT Sport channels because of BT’s decision to move its ad sales from Channel 4 to Sky last year and will join on CFlight in 2022.
CFlight’s launch represents a pivotal moment for the TV ad industry, measuring the incremental reach of TV advertising across linear and broadcaster VOD for the first time. Advertisers will not be able to measure different BARB audiences right away though; for the time being, the newly presented tool will only let advertisers measure an “all adults” audience. More specifically, the data methodology and process, created by research consultancy RSMB, will be audited by ABC, while media software specialist TechEdge will collate and process data for online report requests.
Overall, CFlight is the result of major collaboration, and it will provide innovative, simplified, and unified metrics to demonstrate the significant, growing value of BVOD, and we’re expecting its continued evolution.
All Response Media viewpoint
This has been a long time coming, and realistically, it doesn’t live up to the promised hype, yet. The only audience that can be measured from the start will be ‘adults’, which is very limiting, and evolution is set to be slow. ARM is involved in the development and suggestions for the tool, but updates are not likely until 2023.
From a practical view, it’s funded by the broadcasters, which makes it free to advertisers, which is a positive. However, unlike BARB, advertisers will only have access to their data, so making market comparisons remains shrouded in secrecy.
Cynics amongst us might say that the reason that the broadcasters are hiding the data from the broader market is that they want to keep the total number of BVOD impacts in the market a secret.
This allows them to control the pricing by hiding the amount of money and impacts in the market. Unlike TV where all impacts and ITV spend are in the public domain, and where discount from station price is a common way to ensure all impacts are sold and pricing is transparent, BVOD numbers remain a secret (like Google’s and Facebook’s). Opening up this data is likely to reduce the overall price for advertisers but also the margin for the broadcasters
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