BARB to measure online catch-up viewing- New UK audience data for marketers


Kantar Media has been appointed by BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) to collect and report census data for online TV viewing in the UK across all devices, providing more meaningful UK audience data for marketers.


Under the new scheme, Kantar will measure the number of viewers downloading or streaming TV content across computers, smartphones and tablets.

With plans for the first census data to be published before the end of the year, broadcasters have committed to embed metadata tags to enable consolidated reporting of online viewing to television player services such as the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and Sky Go.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising jointly own BARB, the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which commissions research companies to collect data to represent the viewing behaviour of the 26 million television households in the United Kingdom.

BARB figures are used to report viewing figures, now including time-shifted playback, but to date this has not included ‘catch-up’ viewing on demand.

More meaningful data for broadcasters and advertisers

The enhanced BARB service will measure IP delivered TV services as well as over the air transmissions. The latter still represents the majority of television viewing in the UK’s 26 million TV households.

The TV Player Report is targeted to be launched by the end of this year and is the first step towards BARB being able to dovetail census and panel measurement of TV viewing, making each more meaningful UK audience data for marketers.

In a related development, field tests in the early summer will lead to the roll-out of a solution for measuring BARB panellists’ viewing on tablets and smartphones by the end of the year. This will supplement the tracking of computer viewing in BARB panel homes that is possible as a result of Kantar Media's VirtualMeter being installed in all new panel homes since the end of 2012.

“We are delighted to be enhancing the gold-standard UK TV audience measurement service,” commented Richard Asquith, Global CEO, Kantar Media Audiences. “As television viewing continues to evolve, Kantar Media is committed to delivering audience measurement on all devices, enabling broadcasters and advertisers to understand the changing habits of consumers.

We are proud to be asked by BARB to work with them on this ground-breaking development and look forward to applying this new thinking to other TV measurement currencies."

Commenting on the announcement Justin Sampson, Chief Executive at BARB, said: “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.”

Kantar Media is already a major contractor to BARB and this recent contract was awarded following a competitive tender process involving both traditional and pure-play online competitors.

The TV Player Report is due to be launched by the end of 2013 and is the first step towards an integrated broadcast and online measurement system.

It comes over five years after the launch of the BBC iPlayer and similar online services from other British broadcasters.

A field test of an app over the summer should lead to the roll-out of a system for measuring the viewing of BARB panellists on tablets and smartphones by the end of the year. This will supplement online viewing that is already being tracked in 700 panel homes.

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