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CFlight is ready for take off

There are many inspiring future-gazing quotes.  “Wouldn’t it be great to combine linear TV impacts and video on demand impressions into one over-arching, de-duplicated campaign coverage metric?”  is a cracker that will eventually be ascribed to Oscar Wilde or Rory Sutherland presumably, but the sentiment has a lot of media agency support behind it.

CFlight, the UK’s new metric matching that description, has gone from academic concept to post-pandemic construct in 2 years. Thinkbox has played its part, helping 11 organisations and 50+ people to collaborate on the post-campaign evaluation tool which has been rolled out across UK agencies since March.

A world first

To our knowledge CFlight is the first linear TV and BVOD measurement system in the world of this sophistication and scale, building on the original concept launched by NBCU in the US in 2018. The UK version, brought here and shared by Sky, includes virtually all of the nation’s broadcasters, platforms, channels, players and devices. It combines BARB-measured impacts with ad-served BVOD impressions to show TV and AV buyers what the overall reach and frequency figures are for the campaigns they’ve bought.

The launch version is a free to use, base-level tool giving unique insights into total TV campaign cover. It reports on the All Adult audience, and eligible users can select multiple brands and clock numbers if they wish to combine them.

Rigorous testing

Representatives from agencies that participate in the IPA’s Television Research Advisory Group have undertaken user testing. Their feedback has informed current and future aspects of the portal including its design, functionality, and reports. Final checks and validations have been conducted by the architects RSMB and processors TechEdge in the run-up to full market rollout.

Early results show promise

The data so far reveals a tantalising part of a bigger picture. Many test campaigns have been run, with most showing a low single-figure uplift in Adult audience reach by using VOD as well as linear activity. However, we know that those campaigns weren’t necessarily targeting broad Adults, not least because on-demand viewing is disproportionately popular with ABC1 and younger audiences. With this in mind, in Q4 this year CFlight will unveil its most eagerly anticipated functionality and expand measurement to all of the main TV trading audiences.

Next phase of registrations

Prior to rollout, Thinkbox will be in touch with the largest agencies to arrange buyers’ access to CFlight, so that registration volumes are manageable in the launch phase. Thereafter access will be granted on a request basis subject to eligibility, and we will let you know when this is happening. Agencies can see their own campaigns but not others, so there is no critical competitive imperative to have immediate access on Day 1…but you’ll want to see how your linear and BVOD campaigns performed sooner rather than later, of course, and rollout will occur as fast as it can be enabled.

Thinkbox and the Broadcaster teams will keep you posted on progress throughout 2022 as CFlight produces new insights and unveils useful upgrades along the way.

Emily Smith (Media Director, AV: Wavemaker): To be able to see the total delivered reach of AV campaigns gives us further proof points about the efficacy of holistic TV and BVOD planning, and will help to demonstrate the importance of considering the total TV landscape when we plan and buy campaigns.”

Amy Tocock (Head of AV Strategy, PHD): “Indisputably, CFlight is a considerable and much needed leap forward for the entire industry.  Maybe this makes me a nerd, but I have found it really exciting to be involved in the testing stage!”

Jon Manning, AV Strategy Director, Starcom Worldwide: “CFlight is the answer to what has been the perennial AV industry question; what exactly does BVOD add to a linear TV campaign? Whereas previously we had to use predictive planning tools modelled on claimed behaviour, we now have a statistically robust, post campaign data source that has the backing of the broadcasters as well as BARB to shore up its validity. Although in it’s early stages, it heralds a new dawn in cross media measurement and bodes well for the future.”

Want to try CFlight for yourself?

Access requests can be made via CFlight.co.uk or [email protected].

To be eligible to use the tool you must have recently bought linear or VOD airtime from Sky Media, ITV Media, 4 Sales or STV.


  • Andrew-McIntosh
    Andrew McIntosh
    CFlight Project Manager & Media Consultant, McIntosh Media Consultancy
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