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David Pidgeon 

BARB reports multiple-screen TV figures for first time

BARB reports multiple-screen TV figures for first time

BARB, the TV audience measurement body, has for the first time started reporting the number of people watching programmes across four different screen types.

Confirming that 'Project Dovetail' has successfully launched after years of development, the new measurement capabilities cover TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones for on demand and live streaming.

Project Dovetail, which was first conceived in 2015, was established to understand the changing ways viewers now consume television content. However, the complexity of the task means further stages are yet to be launched, with today's stage covering 'programme average audiences', which reveals the number of people watching programmes across the four screens.

These will be published eight days after transmission, with back-dated figures available for TV shows broadcast from 27 August.

Further stages will show 'multiple-screen reach and time spent viewing', and 'multiple-screen advertising campaign performance'. Both launch dates are yet to be confirmed, but BARB hopes to have some new developments ready for early 2019.

Some of the early findings from today's launch show that traditional TV viewing, by far, remains the most popular way to watch. On average, across all types of TV content, viewing across tablets, PCs and smartphones adds an additional 1.5% uplift.

Although this is very modest, the uplift is much more dramatic for specific types of programming. For instance, in the entrainment category, a show such as Love Island would enjoy an uplift as high as 24.4% for some episodes, while Made in Chelsea was boosted by 16.8% in one instance.

Meanwhile, sport viewing - traditionally enjoyed as a live experience - sees a 1.6% uplift when PC, tablets and smartphones are added.

"Today we reach another milestone in the delivery of Project Dovetail, which is designed to meet industry expectations for a trusted cross-platform audience currency," said Justin Sampson, BARB's CEO.

"This is an ambitious project, as there are many challenges in delivering multiple-screen audience figures to the rigorous standards expected of a joint industry currency such as BARB.

"Three critical ingredients enable us to extend our gold standard to cover viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones. We have representative, observational data that show how people watch on different devices.

"We also have an independently-collected, census-level count of viewing to BVOD services. And we have smart algorithms that fuel the day-to-day integration of these two high-quality, complementary data sources."

Asked if the launch of Project Dovetail would mean platforms such as YouTube would now be measured by BARB, Sampson referred to a cross-industry consultation with advertisers, agencies, broadcasters and social media platforms earlier this year which essentially outlined a list of challenges and criteria for newer video platforms to overcome, such as strict brand safety rules.

Sampson said there are currently no plans to begin measurement of YouTube - which continues to suffer brand safety issues - but added he welcomes all conversations with any content owners and platforms.

Interested in the TV advertising landscape and want to hear more? Attend the Future TV Advertising Forum in London on December 4th, 5th and 6th to with keynotes from Europe, US and Asia and over 750 attendees.

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