Simulmedia Adopts NBCU's CFlight as it Adds OTT Spots

Advanced advertising company Simulmedia is adopting NBCUniversal’s CFlight measurement system as it adds over-the-top inventory to its targeted campaigns.

CFlight incorporates both linear ratings and viewing from digital sources to calculate a total audience for a show or commercial. NBCU used CFlight as the basis of its upfront advertising sales for this season.

In planning and measuring campaigns using both linear TV and over-the-top, “I would look at CFlight as the normalizing framework,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, which. “As we dug in, we realized it was the most pragmatic way to add together numbers from disparate sources in a rational way that the market can understand and can transact on.”

Morgan expects more of the industry to begin to use CFlight.

Related: NBCU Creates Metric Combining Linear and Digital Ad Views

“My hope is that by Simulmedia being the first third-party company to adopt CFlight we’re going to help catalyze a movement towards that framework as an all encompassing framework for multi-channel delivery,” he said.

NBCU has been communicating the benefit of CFlight to other networks and media buyers. CFlight is open-source, which means any network can plug its numbers into the formula to create a rating that is comparable to those from others in the industry.

“This is a strong indicator of how publishers are starting to address the shift in consumption that is happening and the realization that measurement needs to evolve with that,” said Kavita Vazirani, executive VP, strategic insights and analytics at NBCU.

“We know that other networks are also considering it and thinking about it. They might call it different things, but CFlight as a concept to unify impressions is broadly accepted,” she said.

With traditional ratings continually eroding, adding in digital viewing could make TV viewers appear more stable.

So far this season, “especially with our new shows, Manifest or New Amsterdam, we’re seeing that we’re getting the full picture and digital is being captured in this and it’s showing really positive results. And then our returning shows, like This is Us, where it had a pretty strong following, even doing better,” Vazirani said. “So we feel good about where we are today.”

Morgan said Simulmedia while a lot of companies have been touting over-the-top advertising inventory as a way to boost reach of TV ad campaigns, the amount of OTT inventory has been very limited and few companies that buy OTT commercials also have access to targeted linear inventory.

An increasing number of Simulmedia have been asking for OTT inventory, so the company has integrated OTT into its Transparent TV product. Some advertisers can see a significant amount of additional reach for their targeted ad campaigns, Morgan said.

Simulmedia is working with SpotX to provide technology for serving OTT commercials on digital networks and with comScore and Nielsen for measurement.

“We;re the first one to bring together multi network, multi company national tv campaigns that are audience-based with OTT,” Morgan said.

He said Transparent TV was different from other OTT offerings in the market. “It’s not artificially saying ‘hey we’re trying to sell some digital video or TV like inventory and we’re adding a little sprinkling of TV.’ This is how do you take the core foundation of a great TV campaign and intelligently and efficiently add the incremental reach on ad supported OTT. that the advertisers want.”

Morgan said that Simulmedia will be putting its first campaign using OTT on the air this month.

In tests, Morgan said. in some campaigns and with some target audiences you could add 5% of incremental reach. “Of course OTT tends to be more expensive than TV and so that’s going to be one of the tradeoffs. But we’ll see how the client work with that,” he said.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.