Barb data incorporates PVR figures

Barb is to incorporate viewing figures from personal video recorders into its measurements of TV audiences.

The initiative begins this month, with the new data contributing to Barb's official viewing statistics from the end of October.

The move follows several months of close negotiation between Barb, its meter provider, AGB Nielsen Media Research, and BSkyB, which produces the PVR system Sky+.

During this time, BSkyB has developed a means of extracting information from a PVR's hard disk in a way that enables Barb meters to identify it. Meanwhile, AGB Nielsen has had to adapt its Barb meters to enable them to accept this new information.

The new data will be incorporated into both consolidated and overnight viewing figures. A programme recorded on a PVR will become part of an overnight figure if it is watched on the same day as it was broadcast. However, programmes that have been fast-forwarded will not be measured.

"Sky+ reporting is a major development for the Barb system and will provide the first daily reporting of PVR usage," the Barb chief executive, Bjarne Thelin, said. "It's part of the developments that were anticipated when Barb extended its research contracts with suppliers at the end of last year."

The development is part of Barb's "Future into View" strategy, which aims to modernise the measurement of TV viewing figures in the UK.

Barb currently obtains data from 11,500 viewers in 5,100 households.