NBCUniversal unveils new cross-platform viewing metric

(Ben Munson)

NBCUniversal is taking the wraps off its new viewing metric dubbed CFlight, which is built to measure live, on-demand and time-shifted viewing across multiple platforms.

The media company intends to use its new metric as a new currency and as a campaign performance guarantee to marketers, according to Deadline. As the report points out, NBC will continue working with measurement firms like Nielsen and comScore as they too build new metrics to adjust to changing viewership patterns.

CFlight will assemble a composite metric using third-party data sources in order to cover viewership across traditional linear television and digital platforms. NBCU says CFlight is the first cross-platform ad measurement that only counts completely viewed digital impressions, and that the metric will include co-viewing on platforms like Roku and Hulu.

“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 of advertising and client partnerships at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. “Using the Olympics to measure all screens and provide an accurate count of our audiences was just the beginning. 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.”

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Nielsen said it supports NBCU’s efforts to evolve viewership measurement.

"We’ve been working closely with NBCU and other key industry leaders on solutions to expand the currency definition so that it takes into account cross-device consumer viewing behavior as well as media owners’ desire for more flexibility in receiving currency credit for audiences to ads. NBCU’s announcement today is a reflection of this work, and we look forward to our continued partnership as we collectively develop and implement new innovations in measurement," Nielsen said in a statement.

NBC has already been planting its flag across several digital platforms through strategic investments and partnerships with companies including Snapchat and BuzzFeed.

Last year, in a memo to employees following NBC’s $500 million investment in Snapchat parent Snap, NBCU CEO Steve Burke called the investment part of the company’s strategy to invest in digital growth, which includes NBCU’s $400 million investment in BuzzFeed and $200 million investment in Vox.

“I am proud of the strides we have made in the digital space recently. With the Snap investment, we have invested over $1.5 billion in promising digital businesses in the last 18 months. Importantly, we have become a better, more digitally-focused company as a result,” Burke wrote in the memo.

This article was updated to include a statement from Nielsen.