New BARB panel could report higher level of overall TV viewing

A new BARB television audience measurement service launches on 1 January 2010 and it could produce results showing a higher level of TV viewing.

Testing of a parallel panel under the new system for four weeks found overall viewing of BARB reported channels was “around 4% higher” than with the existing BARB panel.

Bjarne Thelin, CEO of BARB, says: “BARB 2010 is set up and ready to provide the industry with “gold standard” currency. Much of the new system is similar in concept to the current one, but there are important changes, including a completely new viewing panel – so there will be some differences in the output.

Changes will see the regional commercial overlapping areas, originally defined by analogue terrestrial reception, replaced by definitions that do not overlap. A map of the new reporting regions was sent to BARB subscribers in June.

The new panel is designed to be more representative of the UK television household population and includes better ethnic profiles and improved representation by multi-platform homes, as well as metropolitan, urban and rural populations.

Thelin adds: ‘While BARB 2010 won’t be a radically different service at the outset, flexibility for the future has been created by changes in structure and methodology. We have our eye on the future and know the service will keep on developing.”

He stressed that the service continually evolves and already includes the ability to monitor devices for on demand playback, including games consoles, PCs, set top boxes and other devices where they are viewed through a TV set.

He said that specific PC and laptop viewing solutions continue to be evaluated and hoped that a test panel could soon be created.

In 2010, BARB will be reporting on approximately 300 itemised channels that broadcasters have requested. All other channels are grouped together with their viewing combined and reported as ‘other viewing’.

BARB collates data from a panel of 5,100 homes embracing around 11,500 individuals.

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