LONDON — The organization charged with measuring UK TV viewing for channels’ advertisers, Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), used to be criticized 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 board already measures laptop, desktop and tablet TV viewing for more than 40% of its panel homes, with sight of catch-up TV services from major broadcasters. And it has spent the last year prototyping the addition of viewing data direct from set-top boxes.

Under this second phase of its so-called Project Dovetail, BARB has been auditioning Kantar and Nielsen for a contract that would meld the box data with panel responses. And now the group is getting ready to announce the contract.

“We’ve done pilot work with set top box data from Sky, which is the largest satellite distributor here in the UK, and that data is delivering us something that we can put together with the people data from our panel,” BARB CEO Justin Sampson tells Beet.TV in this video interview

“And we’re on the verge of announcing who we’re going to, which research agency we’re going to work with on that fusion process.”

Tendering for the final contract was expected to be complete during the final quarter of 2016, the body has previously said.

Time spent watching broadcast TV fell for a third consecutive year but the rate of
decline has slowed, and weekly reach remains high, according to UK media regulator Ofcom’s Communication Market Report for 2016.

“A researcher’s simple answer to fragmentation is to build bigger samples, but the people panel that we operate, the cost of that is not particularly scalable, which is why we’re very interested in census data from any contents delivered online,” BARB’s Sampson adds.

This interview was conducted at the Future of TV Advertising Forum in London. Beet.TV’s coverage is presented by the 605. For other videos from the series, please visit this page.