McDevitt to lead BARB into future

BARB, the TV audience measurement system, has recruited the former director of Westcountry Television, Caroline McDevitt, as its new chief executive.

BARB, the TV audience measurement system, has recruited the former

director of Westcountry Television, Caroline McDevitt, as its new chief

executive.



McDevitt will be charged with overhauling the way that TV viewing is

recorded in the digital TV age, steering the introduction of a new BARB

contract in 2001 and rejuvenating the image of BARB in the media

industry.



McDevitt replaces John Fox at the head of the company, officially taking

over on 1 January, but with a month’s handover in December.



According to Nick Phillips, the chief executive of the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising and one of the key figures behind the

appointment, McDevitt’s television experience makes her ideally suited

to the job.



’Caroline has director-level experience of a TV company and experience

of outsourcing various contracts which will be invaluable when it comes

to the new BARB contract. Although she’s not a researcher, Caroline’s a

long-term user and exploiter of BARB data,’ he said.



McDevitt will have a broader base of BARB shareholders to deal with now

that the old BBC/ITV BARB duopoly has been broken down to embrace a host

of new broadcasters.



She will also oversee the specification and the tendering process for

the new BARB contract, which kicks off early next year for a 2001

start-date. McDevitt will be hiring a number two next spring who has the

technical skills and experience to help steer the specification.



The new contract will have to embrace the hundred-plus new digital

channels and debate is now raging about the detail media buyers will

need to deal with the new channels.



McDevitt said she was attracted to the job because BARB was undergoing

such radical change. ’BARB will be critical to the buying, selling and

measuring of TV in the future and it is very exciting to be involved in

driving that,’ she said.



Her appointment represents something of a departure for BARB, which in

the past has been criticised for its anonymity and fustiness. Phillips

admitted that, with McDevitt, ’we have deliberately skipped a

generation’, while McDevitt said she would work to improve BARB’s image.



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