NBCU Takes A Stab At Standardized TV Measurement
Earlier this week I explained the uncomfortable position TV finds itself in, as viewers and ad dollars migrate to OTT. To address this challenge the networks have started to push their content on to digital distribution platforms – as an example think of NBC shows being carried on Hulu. This move to digital is an admirable attempt to keep up with shifting viewership trends, but there’s still a monetization problem. Since traditional TV and digital video are measured differently it’s hard for agencies to buy content across the different screens.
To solve the cross-screen measurement problem NBCU has just unveiled a unified video ad metric called CFlight. To understand how CFlight works let’s start with simple digital video ads. NBCU can sell these units on a :15 or :30 completed view basis, which count as CFlight impressions. Then NBCU worked with Nielsen to come up with a formula to translate a show’s traditional TV ratings into an impression count, so they would have a comparable measurement unit to the digital impressions. Finally, NBCU derived yet another formula to convert C3 and C7 viewership into impressions to capture delayed DVR viewing in the CFlight metric. By standardizing the “impressionized” units across all of these platforms advertisers could feasibly make one buy which would run apples-to-apples across the different screens.
In general I think this is a decent swing by NBCU to give the market a simpler way to buy video content while helping monetize their digital offering. The devil’s advocate might point out that the impression formulas used to convert traditional TV ratings into digital-esque impressions might be a little fuzzy. But at least the network is trying something (anything!), to jump on the digital gravy train.