Barb Takes Over Running of CFlight in the UK

Tim Cross 06 September, 2023 

Barb, the UK’s major TV measurement body, has today announced it will take over the running of CFlight, a cross-platform measurement solution, from January next year. The news brings together Barb’s own ‘gold standard’ measurement with CFlight tools, which enable advertisers to measure deduplicated reach and frequency of their campaigns across broadcasters linear channels and streaming services.

The measurement body says CFlight is complementary to the ‘Advanced Campaign Hub’, its own cross-screen service. The Advanced Campaign Hub provides pre-campaign planning analysis across linear channels and BVOD services, including budget optimisation. CFlight on the other hand delivers post-campaign reports. So using the two together, buyers can plan using projections of cross-screen reach and frequency, and then use CFlight to see how the campaign actually performed.

Access to CFlight on the buy-side will remain as it currently is. The top 35 media agencies have direct access to the CFlight portal, and smaller agencies can get access from relationships with sales houses (who can access data on their own channels).

But on the sell-side, Barb says it will look to bring more broadcasters and streamers on board. The measurement body says it wants to expand the number of services included in both CFlight and the Advanced Campaign Hub, and any streaming service with a full Barb license will be able to participate on the same terms as existing participants. This could well include recent sign-ups Netflix and Disney+.

“The evolution of CFlight into a joint-industry service, overseen by both buyers and sellers of advertising, is an important moment,” said Justin Sampson, Barb’s chief executive. “Complemented by the Advanced Campaign Hub, Barb’s total campaign audience reporting will not only cover all major BVOD services, but can also be extended to include pure-play streaming services that are committed to being measured and reported by Barb. As ever, Barb will continue to be guided by the joint-industry principles of fair-and-comparable audience measurement.”

Broadcasters rally round CFlight

CFlight, first conceived in the US by NBCUniversal and brought over to the UK by its sister company Sky, first launched in beta in the UK in March last year. Since launch, CFlight has given advertisers basic reach and frequency measures for campaigns run on both linear and broadcaster video on-demand (BVOD) services. But this was very much just the starting point, and CFlight’s goal has been to add new functionality to make it more and more useful to buyers.

CFlight recently added the ability for users to review frequency distributions for campaigns. And another crucial update is due later this year, when buyers will be able to assess performance across 14 widely used target audiences – which has been one of the most frequently requested features buyers have been asking for. Once Barb takes over the running of CFlight, it will develop a joint-industry project team with buy and sell-side representatives to guide the further evolution of the product.

One of CFlight’s major successes has been getting the UK’s major broadcasters involved. Alongside Sky Media, ITV Media and 4 Sales both signed up early on to help develop the product. And Barb taking over further cements CFlight’s status among the UK’s major TV players, since Barb itself is a joint industry committee owned by the UK’s major broadcaster.

With broadcasters rallying around the project, UK advertisers are seeing significant progress around cross-media measurement, with one standard used across the major broadcasters.

But CFlight’s popularity with broadcasters stands in contrast to Origin, another major cross-media measurement project developed by advertiser trade group ISBA. While CFlight aims to give broadcasters a deduplicated view of reach and frequency across TV specifically, Origin wants to work across all media.

For buyers who view all TV and video through one omnichannel lens, Origin’s metrics would likely be more useful (or at the very least, add extra value). But broadcasters, and Barb itself, have seemed lukewarm on the project – likely over fears of their inventory being devalued by Origin’s cross-media metrics. And with CFlight being taken over by TV measurement mainstay Barb, the divide between the two projects may be intensified.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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