Media Future of TV Media Measurement

What you need to know about Cflight, the tool combining linear TV and BVOD measurement


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

July 15, 2021 | 5 min read

In June, Britain’s broadcasters set aside their differences to launch Cflight, a tool designed to gauge campaign reach and frequency across linear TV and broadcaster video on demand (BVOD). The Drum explores how this progresses the CTV landscape in the UK.


Andrew McIntosh talks up how the tool will offer post-campaign measurement and, most importantly, will deduplicate reach

Cflight was first founded in NBC Universal’s ranks in 2018 before the tech subsequently crossed the Atlantic as part of the Sky/Comcast deal. The UK’s three big TV media houses, including Sky Media, are now using the tool to measure the convergence of linear and VOD reach. There is increasing demand for such a tool.

In the UK, Cflight is guided by Barb’s linear TV impacts and BVOD impressions from broadcaster ad servers. Data processing is then audited by ABC, the industry body for media measurement auditing.

The development and coordination of Cflight has been managed by independent consultant Andrew McIntosh through Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK in which Channel 4, ITV and Sky are all shareholders. He talks The Drum through what we can expect from it.

What to expect

At launch, the broadcasters covered by Cflight include ITV, Channel 4, Sky, UKTV, STV, Channel 5, Discovery and Viacom.

During The Drum’s Future of TV deep-dive, measurement was found to be one of the big issues facing the BVOD expansion. TV broadcasters must prove that each are cost-effective channels. Cflight helps determine how many times a campaign has been viewed by an individual, aiding with frequency capping, which for many is one of the lead friction points of the medium.

In the UK, Cflight now has about 98% coverage of BVOD. McIntosh talks up how the tool will offer post-campaign measurement and, most importantly, will deduplicate reach for the first time.

McIntosh is looking to “create a metric as rigorous and transparent as possible ... to show media buyers what the overall advertising exposure is for their TV campaigns, notably reach and frequency metrics”.

To do this, it identifies creative assets by their clock code and matches them to uses where possible.

Will it work?

According to Mihir Haria-Shah, head of broadcast at Anything is Possible, there are tonnes of things making buyers’ lives complicated this year – volatility in the market, for example.

Another is the constant battle between hyper-targeting and broad reach, which Cflight has been conceived to help with. Haria-Shah says: “Pretty much from the start of my career we’ve talked about BVOD being a way to build incremental reach to TV campaigns or as an extension of a TV campaign, however as buyers we’ve never really had a way to measure and/or prove this until now (a few agencies may have built their own products to do this previously).”

The conversations are now starting to help buyers find the right mix for linear and BVOD spend. He says: “The mediums have increasingly been working closer together in recent years. The reason being is that BVOD isn’t just an extension of linear, but almost a reflection of it as most of it is now consumed on the big screen in a shared viewing environment, just like linear. However, there has clearly been a huge shift in on-demand consumption from viewers in recent years.”

The tool is hugely beneficial, he says, but has to accompany wider efforts to “simplify the terminology we use for the other metrics across linear and BVOD and establish a common currency, e.g. TVR/GRPs v impressions”.

With additional pressure on the TV buying medium, Haria-Shah says broadcasters have realized that it is crucial they do everything they can to emphasize the power and effectiveness of the TV screen as an advertising platform.

“Often one of the stumbling blocks to cross-platform measurement is a reluctance among rivals to collaborate. Credit to the major broadcasters for pulling together to make this happen – we’re seeing a lot more collaboration between them, which is hugely beneficial to the industry.”

In the near future, he believes that Cflight will be bettered by the addition of AdSmart activity alongside linear and BVOD campaigns.

Media Future of TV Media Measurement

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