LONDON — The organization charged with measuring UK TV viewing for channels’ advertisers, Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), used to be critized for its traditionalist approach to the task – a 5,1oo-household panel method supposed to represent country-wide viewing in a multi-media age.

But BARB is reinventing itself. The organisation already measures consumers’ digital viewing of core broadcasters’ shows, and separately measures viewing by census data. Now it is embarking on a project to unite the two.

Beet.TV learned more from Kantar UK TV and video measurement MD Margo Swadley, whose company is one agency that supplies BARB data.

“With the base panel, we have begun to measure their online devices as well – we put a software meter in their PCs, laptops and tablets,” Swadley says. “It’s now at about 2,400 households.

“In addition, BARB’s Project Dovetail has been about census-level data… straight from the player provider. Now you can see across BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, UKTV, STV, UTV and a couple of other ones… on a like-for-like basis, common metrics across them, which is really an industry first.”

But Swadley is also currently facing off to compete for a bigger piece of BARB’s business.

“What it can’t tell you is who (watched),” she adds. “So the second stage of Dovetail is about combining the census-level data with the panel data. That’s what advertisers and programme-makers want.

“Dovetail 2 is starting its prototype stage. It’s a six-month competitive prototype. Kantar and Nielsen are, at the same time, doing the process of combing the data.”

BARB will update us on the performance of both the Kantar and Nielsen implementations by June.


This video was produced at the Future Of TV Advertising Forum. Beet.TV’s coverage is sponsored by Xaxis. You can find more Beet videos from the conference on this page.