The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) has confirmed TNS has won the £10m contract to measure UK TV audiences from incumbent AGB Nielsen, as exclusively revealed by Marketing Week (MW November 15).
The announcement was delayed to protract negotiations following a threatened legal action from Nielsen against rival TNS. The move forced BARB to extend the tender deadline (MW December 5).
The tender process was announced in December last year, with the new six-year contract due to start in 2010. BARB, a joint company of BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, has awarded two contracts to TNS which include establishing and maintaining a new viewing panel, and handling meter panel installation, data retrieval, processing and audience reporting functions.
BARB says the system will be able to measure more timeshifted viewing and will extend to cover video on demand services viewed via TV sets. A new non-linear database is expected to be introduced for timeshifted viewing beyond the seven days included in the main BARB databases, and standalone pieces of content available on-demand via TV sets.
BARB says it will also trial PC viewing, with a view to rolling it out across the panel and potentially extending it to laptops and other portable devices.
The contract was awarded on TNS Fixed Meter service, but could also be extended to cover the controversial Portable People Meter service from Arbitron. The PPM system is understood to be at the heart of a patent issue from Nielsen, a 50% partner in AGB Nielsen.
AGB Nielsen managing director Justin Sampson (pictured) says he is “disappointed” by the decision.