- 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 from 1 January, although there will be 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 TV experience made her ideally suited to the job.
"Caroline has director-level experience of a TV company and experience of out-souring various contracts which will be invaluable when it comes to the new BARB contract. And although she's not a researcher, Caroline's a long-term user and exploiter of BARB data."
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 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 its very exciting to be involved in driving that," she said.