The appointment of TNS/ Arbitron to the £10m UK TV audience measurement contract has been thrown into confusion after the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) failed to announce the contract win last week.
It is understood that the announcement has been delayed due to concerns about the accuracy of the TNS/ Arbitron measurement system, particularly in measuring the 18to 24-year-old audience, and the cost of setting up the panel and buying equipment.
BARB denies that the appointment has been made and also that the process has been delayed. A spokeswoman says that it has said the appointment would be made by the end of the year and had not given a definite deadline.
TNS is understood to be close to snatching the contract from AGB Nielsen Media Research after a tender process (MW last week). The contract is due to start in 2010.
But insiders claim that the process has merely been delayed due to legal process and there will no further issues.
The TNS/Arbitron Personal People Meter can measure all platforms and out-of home viewing but there are concerns that there has not been sufficient testing of the PPM and that this could lead to fluctuations in TV audience figures across the board.
These fears are reinforced by last year’s decision by Nielsen Media, which is a 50% partner in the UK’s AGB Nielsen with WPP, not to use the meters because research showed that the system did not fulfil research requirements.