Media agencies have accused Barb of manipulating audience data in
order to reassure the media industry and prop up TV audience
Impacts for 16- to 34-year-old adults - an audience that has given
buyers particular cause for concern - have now increased
Across all television they were up 20 per cent year on year for the week
ending 10 February, compared with a decline of 33 per cent for the first
week that the new audience panel came into effect.
Channel 4 and ITV were the worst hit when the new panel was installed -
both experiencing year-on-year declines of more than 45 per cent for
But the most recent weekly consolidated data shows that Channel 4 has
increased its year-on-year impacts by 8 per cent, while ITV is now down
by only 2 per cent. Satellite viewing and Channel 5 are up 60 per cent
year on year.
MediaCom's director, Steve McDonnell, remained sceptical about the new
data. He said: "The results smack of coaching. And the Pop Idol final
cannot be responsible for ITV's performance as it would only have made a
5 per cent difference."
Barb's chief executive, Caroline McDevitt, denied the panel is being
coached. However, she did admit that there had been a problem with the
16 to 34 data and said they were being "re-educated" to register guest
viewing, and that the data and the new panel was beginning to settle
Walker Media's managing partner in charge of broadcast, Jon Horrocks,
said: "The biggest outrage is that there has been no penalty clause for
Barb failing to recruit the panel to the correct size by the beginning
of the new contract."
The new 16- to 34-year-old universe has been decreased by 5 per cent to
represent the population.