BARB to collect online data

Gaming on tabletBARB, the official source of TV viewing in the UK, is to collect census data for TV viewing through all computer devices, including tablets. 

Contractor Kantar Media will handle the data, which has been made possible by the commitment of the UK broadcasters to embed metadata tags into their programme content.

Justin Sampson, chief executive at BARB, said: “This news is pivotal as BARB will track audiences using metadata tags for the first time. Our initial focus is on reporting the extent to which IP content is being downloaded or streamed. This is a significant step forward in our ambition to deliver cross-platform measurement of content. The next step is to invite research companies to tender for the task of integrating this data with the viewing figures that our users are already familiar with.”

Measurement of IP-delivered services will commence this autumn, alongside over the air transmissions, which still represent the majority of viewing for the UK’s 26 million households.

Field tests of a dedicated app in the early summer should lead to the roll-out of a solution for measuring BARB panelists’ viewing on tablets and smartphones by the end of the year. This will supplement the computer viewing that we are already tracking in 700 panel homes.

Richard Brooke, BARB board member and senior communications and buying manager at Unilever UK and Ireland, said: “This is a positive step forward towards measurement of this tremendously complex area. We are optimistic that blending census data with more comprehensive behaviour tracking in the BARB panel is the right way forward.”

The release of the TV Player report at the end of the year is seen as the first stage towards a dovtailing of online and over the air data collection.