CFlight will mean that advertisers will be able to see the total reach and frequency of their campaigns across all forms of TV. We’ve gathered together answers to your key questions about CFlight, find out more below:
What is CFlight?
- CFlight is the UK’s first unified TV advertising metric that captures the vast majority of live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impacts and impressions across all viewing platforms
- CFlight is a post-campaign online evaluation tool. It produces campaign reports that provide de-duplicated total reach and frequency across linear TV and broadcaster VOD (BVOD)
Which companies are behind CFlight?
- Broadcaster CFlight is a joint initiative between Sky Media, ITV Media and 4 Sales. CFlight was created by NBCU, a Comcast company, in the US. Comcast-owned Sky redeveloped it for its own purposes in the UK , and also instigated this three-way collaboration with ITV Media and 4 Sales, which tailors the methodology to the UK’s broadcasting ecosystem
- Industry bodies BARB, Thinkbox and Clearcast have facilitated CFlight’s development, and TV audience specialists RSMB and TechEdge have played integral roles in terms of data architecture and processing
- CFlight is a pioneering and technically complex project involving over 50 people and 10 organisations
What are RSMB and TechEdge’s roles?
- Audience research consultancy RSMB has designed the calculation methodology. RSMB is a long-standing supplier to BARB, and has used its audience measurement expertise to write the underlying algorithms which unite the BARB panel’s linear impacts with census-based on-demand impressions
- Media data processing specialists TechEdge are implementing RSMB’s CFlight model and integrating it into a web application, through which users can generate CFlight report requests. TechEdge then collate the data and run it through the CFlight model which is then made available for online report generation
- Both companies are highly respected in the media research world, having longstanding involvement in UK TV audience measurement
Which broadcasters and players are covered?
- In addition to Channel 4, ITV and Sky’s channels, apps and portals, CFlight includes STV, UKTV and Channel 5 channels and their respective BVOD players, and their VOD ads on Virgin Media. BT Sport is on the roadmap. We estimate that CFlight covers over 98% of UK broadcaster advertising.
When will CFlight launch?
- CFlight will launch in autumn 2021. The rollout will take place over a period of weeks, enabling multi-location systems to be adjusted to the significant new processing demands.
Who can have access to CFlight?
- CFlight will be made available at no cost to IPA agencies that run BVOD advertising campaigns. Media buyers will be required to register. The online portal has been developed by TechEdge, who also host it. It is a standalone system, unconnected to TechEdge subscription services
- Agencies will be able to see their own campaign data
What will CFlight data show?
The launch phase of CFlight will combine linear TV advertising impacts with BVOD impressions to give total exposure counts at a broad audience level (Adults). Future phases are planned for 2022 and beyond, to add greater flexibility and functionality
- Combined impacts/impressions across linear and BVOD
- Reach and frequency across linear and BVOD campaigns
- Comprehensive exposure measurement across devices, platforms and apps
- BVOD-only campaigns will be included in Q1 2022
Which devices and apps are included?
- Most linear TV impacts and impressions served around broadcaster on demand content
- BVOD players: ITV Hub, All 4, UKTV Play, STV Player, Sky Go, Sky on Demand, NOW TV, Virgin Media VOD, My5
- Devices: Connected TVs, set top boxes, PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, games consoles
- Browsers: Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, etc
- …In fact there are no player, device or browser exceptions that we know of
What is CFlight’s methodology?
- CFlight combines BARB panel linear TV impacts, reach and frequency and census-level BVOD impressions and account reach data. Industry standard datasets such as BARB Dovetail and the Touchpoints fusion feed the models, alongside bespoke survey data.
- The calculations are extensive and complex, written by RSMB for TechEdge to apply. There are the following broad steps:
1. A machine learning algorithm tackles data cleaning requirements, completing missing classifications.
2. Impressions are scaled to be the equivalent of linear impacts, using viewers per view (VPV) factors built using BARB data.
3. Segmented universes based on platform access are built, taking into account household composition where necessary and overlaps.
4. For each BVOD Service (player), the relationship between account level reach, impressions and frequency is encoded into a robust statistical model (NBD), a la the BARB Gold Standard.
- CFlight’s development has been aided by recent work by Clearcast/Peach which identifies BVOD copy numbers and supplies them to TechEdge, enabling the accurate matching of linear and BVOD creative copy.
5. Further machine learning models are used to deduplicate reach across different services for each segment. These steps deliver daily deduplicated reach and total impacts for the selected clocks.
6. Frequencies are calculated using another robust statistical model, following the BARB Gold Standard for frequency reporting.
What are the inputs to the model?
The model works by taking:
- Three datasets from each of ITV, Channel 4 and UKTV, Sky Media and STV containing recent user account universes, daily impression counts and cumulative frequency distributions
- BARB linear universe data
- BARB linear campaign reach and frequency data
- Rolling parameters derived from BARB and BARB Dovetail data
- Static data from a bespoke ‘Landscape’ survey
What are the run parameters?
At launch, users of CFlight can select:
- A campaign date range of between 5 and 63 days (up to 9 weeks/2 months)
- Up to 10 clock numbers
- The audience for Phase 1 is Adults
What is the report output and how long will it take to produce?
- Reports will specify impacts and impressions, and de-duplicated reach and frequency across BVOD and linear TV
- In the first few weeks reports may take 24 hours to produce, from the time a request file is generated and the broadcaster input data has been sent back to TechEdge for processing, while the processing demands are calibrated
- It is expected that after the early launch phase straightforward runs will take a few hours, but overnight runs are expected to be the norm for large or complex campaigns
What is planned for future phases?
- The priority has been to launch CFlight swiftly, so that media agencies can analyse the communication effects of combining linear TV with BVOD advertising as soon as possible
- At launch, Phase 1 in Autumn 2021, the CFlight tool will provide unique insights into TV+BVOD campaigns. It will become an ever-more sophisticated measurement system, and has been designed to be enhanced in future phases
- Phase 2 is planned for Q1 2022 and will additionally allow BVOD-only campaigns to be analysed
- Phase 3 in Q2 2022 will include the most eagerly anticipated functionality - the main TV buying audiences
- Phase 4 in autumn 2022 will incorporate regionality (assuming we find the data is robust enough to do so at this level) and other enhancements
- Phase 5 and beyond will take place in 2023 and the following years, adding further incremental improvements