NBCU Creates Metric Combining Linear and Digital Ad Views

Big buyers endorse single guarantees
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Two months before the crucial upfront market, NBCUniversal has created a new metric that unifies linear and digital viewing of an advertising campaign.

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NBCU calls its new metric CFlight and says it is comprised of Nielsen measurement of linear viewing and digital measurement combining data from comScore, Moat and other research companies that counts co-viewing but holds digital impressions to tougher, TV-type standards at a time when the measurement and effectiveness of Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google are being questioned on Madison Avenue. 

“Consumer behavior has changed the way our content is consumed, and it’s time for metrics to catch up and show the true power of premium video,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships. ”As our industry questions the strength of digital-first advertising, we are guaranteeing that campaigns running around NBCUniversal content, regardless of platform, are reaching true, valuable audiences at scale.” 

The move comes at a time when TV ad revenues are flat to falling and programmers complain that declining traditional ratings don’t fully measure audiences as more viewing takes place on digital and over-the-top platforms. Having one metric makes it easier for networks to sell their digital video inventory, and gives them the flexibility to meet advertiser guarantees by using digital impressions when linear impressions fall short. 

NBCU, with ad sales topping $10 billion annually, has been discussing the new metric with large media agencies for months and several endorsed NBCU’s approach, which allows them to buy ads on premium video based on a single metric with a single guarantee at a time when the media environment is becoming more complex. 

“Since the start of time-shifted and TV anywhere viewing, GroupM has championed expanded audience measurement, first C3 and then C7, to capture the total audiences of our partners’ programs and our clients’ advertising,” said Lyle Schwartz, Chief Investment Officer, GroupM. “NBCU’s move is a step in the right direction, consistent with work we’ve being doing market-wide to get to measurement of commercial viewing, in addition to more complete program ratings. Measurement must keep up with the fluidity of consumption to justify our clients’ investments.” 

NBCU and GroupM got together a decade agoto do the first upfront ad deal based on C3 ratings, which measure the average commercial viewership within a program including the growing amount of delayed viewing on DVRs and on demand. 

NBCU gave its new metric a test run earlier this year during the Winter Olympics when it sold ads based on what it called Total Audience Delivery, a number that combined linear and digital ad viewing. 

NBCU executive VP for sports ad sales Dan Lovinger said the vast majority of its $920 million in advertising sale during the Olympics were made using a metric similar to CFlight. While traditional TV ratings for the Olympics were down, NBCU was able to deliver impressions to advertisers using viewing on digital platforms including Roku and Apple TV. 

Lovinger said NBCU expected to use CFlight during the upfront.

Read more at B&C.