Barb seeks cross-industry contribution to TV measurement

Barb, the TV audience measurement body, has invited the TV industry to come together to form a working group to help ensure it evolves with the changing media landscape.

The working group will be called the BARB Measurement Sciences Forum and will seek to ensure the TV and advertising industries are more involved in the development of TV measurement, and prevent measurement fragmenting by creating the "bigger picture".

At an event for advertisers, agencies, content producers, broadcasters, platform operators, research suppliers and manufacturers yesterday (4 October), Barb chief executive Bjarne Thelin announced that the body intends to evolve how it measures TV viewing.

Barb will look to enable coordinated reference points for organisations building their own server data about internet viewing, to counter the danger that different organisations could produce numbers that are not comparable.

Thelin said: "We hope through our development projects to create the opportunity for the industry to be better informed, to track new types of content, to see beyond the TV set, and to pursue the enhanced solutions for connected TV.

"We need a converged mindset to deal with the new converging world of data."

Simon Bolus, research director at Barb, outlined a timetable for introducing a virtual meter into the Barb measurement system, which should be able to report "at least top-line data" on viewing of TV programmes through PCs and laptops, by the end of 2012.

Approximately 100 panel homes will have the virtual meter installed by the end of 2011, and viewing data and quality control indicators will be assessed during the first quarter of 2012.

Bolus said the aim was to add web TV measurement to a further 1,000 panel homes during the rest of 2012, which should provide a "viable" sample of 1,100 homes and around 2,800 individuals.

In the panel session that followed the presentation, Patrick Barwise, emeritus professor of management and marketing at the London Business School, said people had "rather exaggerated idea of the scale" of internet TV.

Barwise said: "Only 9% of TV viewing is non-live. There is a tendency to refer to this as non-linear. The great majority of that 9% is the same content from the same channels watched less than seven days after broadcast."

"I am sceptical about large-scale VoD. Meanwhile, we should applaud Barb for evolving. 'Calm down dear' is the message. This is not a burning platform. This is something that, in reality, is not changing too fast.

Also in the session were Richard Foan, communications and innovation director at ABC; Nigel Walley, managing director of Decipher Media; Neil Mortensen, research and planning director at Thinkbox, and Steve Wilcox, managing director of Barb’s research contractor, RSMB.

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe


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