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In Expanding CFlight Portfolio-Wide, NBCU Systems Set To Progress: EVP Vazirani

As it looks to expand its CFlight all-screen audience measurement currency to its entire portfolio in 2019, NBCUniversal is finding that upgraded transactional systems are key to CFlight’s implementation. “I think everybody conceptually believes in this,” says Kavita Vazirani. “I think the challenges have come in the systems. That’s where the harder conversations have been.”

CFlight was launched in the spring of 2017 to enable holistic video planning across platforms by measuring all live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions. It initially was available for solely for NBC’s primetime and sports programming, Vazirani, who is EVP, Insights & Measurement for NBCU, explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

“Going into next year we will expand it across the portfolio, and we’re working through how do we make it less friction with the systems and what are the investments we need to make from an operations perspective to make this easier across the portfolio,” says Vazirani.

In addition to facilitating cross-platform planning, CFlight also was intended to “raise the bar on digital and provide guarantees on completed views” while providing a new way for NBCU to maximize ad inventory and yield portfolio-wide. “It was really a mechanism to deliver on our vision to measure across all screens, all platforms and have a unified impression measurement approach.”

She stresses the open source, transparent nature of CFlight’s methodology. After considering “many different partners,” including Comscore, Adobe and VideoAmp, NBCU chose Nielsen’s C3 and C7 TV ratings and its Digital Advertising Ratings for digital media.

“We know we’ll evolve it in the future, but the key was that this is open source and we are very transparent with our methodology.

According to Vazirani, marketers thought CFlight was “conceptually fantastic” at the outset and that agencies were also excited. She cites Simulmedia’s adoption of CFlight two months ago as it added OTT inventory to its campaigns as additional validation. But systems remain a challenge.

“We’re still on some of our older billing systems. How do we transform from an operations perspective to now report on it holistically and how does an agency ecosystem transform from that?”

In the meantime, NBCU is building “a continuum of measurement” from unifying impressions with CFlight being able to assign credit to television and providing marketers with a closed-loop evaluation of their campaign and, eventually, a series of campaigns.

This video is part the Beet.TV preview series “The Road to CES 2019.” The series is presented by dataxu. For more videos, please visit this page.