The panel is four times larger than the existing Barb panel but is made up purely of Sky's digital satellite viewers.
As well as providing more detailed audience viewing data of these viewers, it aims to establish a relationship between viewing habits and corresponding purchasing behaviour by including 7,000 households that are already part of TNS’ existing consumer research panels.
These TNS panels, Superpanel, FashionTrak and Impulse provide measurement of the brands purchased by individuals in 30,000 households across brands in a wide range of categories, including FMCGs and clothing.
TNS has been charged with combining the more detailed information about the viewing habits of Sky viewers with their purchasing habits in order to demonstrate the value of its audiences to advertisers.
The company is currently in the process of designing and recruiting the panel and the first results are expected to be available in early 2005.
Mark Chippendale, the director of sales at BSkyB's ad sales division Sky Media, said: "As take-up of digital continues to rise, BSkyB is committed to achieving sustained growth in its advertising revenues. This innovative initiative will deepen understanding of digital audiences and demonstrate to marketers the potential return on investment offered by advertising on multi-channel television."
The move coincides with moves by a consortium of commercial TV broadcasters – including Sky – to find more effective ways of marketing television as a medium. The Ingram Partnership has been appointed to lead this research project.
Mike Gorton, the head of television and radio audience measurement at TNS, added: "Building on our expertise in running large panels and our record of innovation within the field of television audience research, it is the first time a panel has been created that is large enough to measure viewers’ use of satellite and interactive television services to a satisfactory level of detail."
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