NBCU Unveils ‘First Unified’ Ad Metric of All Live, On-Demand, Time-Shifted Impressions


NEW YORK – NBCUniversal says it’s offering the industry’s first unified advertising metric that measures all live, on-demand, and time-shifted commercial impressions on every viewing platform. 

It’s called CFlight, and it will measure TV advertising exposures within full episodes of shows across all screens, and be offered as a single audience guarantee, based on specific demographic impressions on average commercial minute ratings. That will include live and delayed TV viewing, video-on-demand (VOD), over-the-top (OTT), desktop, and mobile. Data will be incorporated from what NBCU says is the best measurement by platform – from Nielsen, comScore, Moat, and others.

NBCU also says it will include co-viewing measured on OTT platforms “where measurement is enabled.” This includes Roku and NBCUniversal content on Hulu. NBCU says OTT represents more than one-third of its long-form digital video audience.

Dan Lovinger, NBCU executive vice president of the sports advertising sales group, told Media Daily News, “An ad doesn't get counted unless it is fully watched. We are holding ourselves to a higher standard. We think this will push others to come to a more credible standard. Our vision is to provide a dashboard that will show the linear TV impressions, digital platform impressions, total impressions, human viewable completion [rate], and ultimately reach and frequency against the demo.”

Lovinger also said that CFlight is more holistic because it expands to different non-traditional TV platforms. “It is driving incremental reach potentially against younger viewers because we are including digital,” he added.

Mark Marshall, executive vice president of entertainment ad sales for NBCU, said NBCU is “trying to get TV to look more like digital as opposed to getting digital to look more like TV. As marketing becomes more real-time the idea of locking in ads for an extended period of time makes less sense."

NBCU reportedly worked with several media agencies, including Group M, Magna, and Omnicom Media Group, to make CFlight operational.

Lyle Schwartz, chief investment officer, of Group M, told Media Daily News that NBCU's effort is not perfect but represents a step in the right direction. “It not the best, because the best would be to have one holistic measurement. We are hoping this will re-energize some of the measurement companies out there to step up and find a way to work with us to make this improvement even better," Schwartz said.

Although it may not deliver a full 100 percent of all audience viewing on all of NBC’s media platforms, said Schwartz, “the approach we are taking is taking the lion’s share” of all its viewing.

Addressing the question of whether there might be further negotiation beyond CFlight audience guarantees for this upfront ad-selling season, Schwartz said: “I will be talking with my clients [about this] as an approach to negotiate with NBC. I will work with any media company that wants to help move audience measurement forward.”