A split has emerged between BSkyB and other broadcasters over the introduction of a system of measurement for sponsorship credits through BARB.
When BARB awarded the programme audience measurement contract to ATR last year, it indicated that the system would also be extended to include sponsorship credits.
But due to the problems associated with the bedding down of the contract, this has been delayed. In the meantime advertisers have had to rely on broadcasters voluntarily logging the fact that sponsorship credits have run alongside a programme or on their agencies monitoring the credits.
Following pressure from media agencies, BARB is consulting broadcasters over the introduction of a system of measurement for sponsorship credits that not only verifies that they have run as planned, but also gives an audience rating.
But the broadcasters are split over what the system should cover. BSkyB is understood to support the introduction of a verification system, but it is not in favour of introducing audience ratings for sponsorship credits. Other broadcasters, such as Granada and Channel 4, are in principle in favour of both.
A source at BSkyB says: “There’s a danger that if we measure the audience for each sponsorship credit individually then that sponsorship could come to be regarded as nothing more than an advertising spot. If you are trading sponsorship like advertising, it undermines the added value that sponsorship offers through the fit between the programme and the brand.”