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David Pidgeon 

BARB appoints Kantar Media to collect TV viewing data through all computer devices


BARB, the official source of television viewing figures in the UK, has today announced that it has appointed Kantar Media to collect census data for TV viewing through all computer devices, including tablets.

The move is described as an "innovative collaboration" and is made possible by the commitment of the UK broadcasters to embed metadata tags into their programme content.

The collaboration demonstrates how BARB is trying to measure and report all television viewing on any device, so that broadcasters and advertisers can continue to rely on BARB for audience reporting and airtime trading.

It means that:

  • From Autumn 2013, BARB will measure IP delivered services as well as over the air transmissions, which still represent the majority of television viewing in the UK's 26 million households.
  • For the first time BARB will have a gold standard report into viewing to TV player services such as 4oD, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, ITV Player and Sky Go.
  • Field tests of a new app in the early summer should lead to the roll-out of a solution for measuring BARB panelists' viewing on tablets and smartphones by the end of the year. This will supplement the computer viewing that we are already tracking in 700 panel homes.
  • The TV Player Report that is targeted to be launched by the end of the year is the first step towards BARB being able to dovetail both sources of measurement, making each more meaningful for broadcasters and advertisers.

"This is a positive step forward towards measurement of this tremendously complex area," said Richard Brooke, BARB board member and senior communications and buying manager at Unilever UK and Ireland. "We are optimistic that blending census data with more comprehensive behaviour tracking in the BARB panel is the right way forward."

Justin Sampson, chief executive at BARB, added: "This news is pivotal as BARB will track audiences using metadata tags for the first time. Our initial focus is on reporting the extent to which IP content is being downloaded or streamed. This is a significant step forward in our ambition to deliver cross-platform measurement of content.

"The next step is to invite research companies to tender for the task of integrating this data with the viewing figures that our users are already familiar with."

On Monday Newsline will publish an article from Justin Sampson on the future of BARB.

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