BARB tests tablet ‘Peoplemeter’ to improve TV viewing data

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) is testing a ‘Peoplemeter’ table device that can record how many people are in the room as part of a wider push to uncover new TV data capture methods.

sky tv
Sky says the tool is step toward developing more data capture methods that people feel comfortable with.

The “MediaCell Tablet Peoplemeter” features both audio fingerprinting and audio watermarking to determine what is being watched and by how many. Panelists can either use the device’s touchscreen to register their presence in a room or alternatively use a remote control handset, which has buttons allocated to each household member.

The experiment, conducted in partnership with Ipsos MORI, spans 60 homes in London over a six-month period. It is the first major test of a new meter design with BARB looking to align its data capture methods closer to how consumers are using technology in their homes.

Justin Sampson, chief executive of BARB, says the trial aims to establish the technology’s reliability, investigate its impact on panel members’ “participation and compliance” and examine how effective the back-end systems are at producing viewing statements for clients.

Sampson adds: “This trial is part of another important element of our strategy, which is to ensure we continue to do the basics as well as we possibly can. Technology moves on and we need to understand how meters can keep pace with these changes, both in terms of how the equipment looks and the accuracy of the data capture techniques.”

John Litster, managing director of Sky Media and a member of BARB’s strategy board, said: “We all know that consumers have high expectations of the technology that they allow in the living room and other parts of their house. This trial is important as BARB needs to use metering equipment that people feel comfortable with.”

The changes come as BARB explores how it can integrate device-based data with viewing data from its panel of over 12,000 homes to deliver improved insights. Some media buyers and planners have expressed concerns in the past over the size of the panel despite recent updates including the ability to know who is watching what on desktops and laptops in homes.

Concerns over the quality of audience data also plague the newspaper industry, which is working together to create an audience metric across print and digital.

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