Barb finds TV industry concerned over uncertain future

The television industry has voiced concerns over the impact of mobile TV and out-of-home viewing, according to the TV audience measurement body Barb.

These worries were expressed in Barb's Future Into View Consultation, which polled the television industry to find out how it is changing and how it thinks Barb should respond to future challenges.

Barb said the industry had expressed a great deal of uncertainty regarding the importance of out-of-home viewing - such as the watching of football matches in pubs - and the lack of knowledge in this area.

It also expressed confusion over the measurement of in-home viewing and whether out-of-home viewing should be separately measured.

There was overwhelming support for developing measurement for smaller channels owing to the erratic nature of smaller audiences.

One of the most divisive issues in the industry is the question of a single-source multimedia measurement.

The survey found that advertisers are strongly in favour of Barb incorporating other broadcast media into its measurement techniques.

Barb said it would continue a "dialogue" with the radio measurement body Rajar into the development of portable meters.

Bjarne Thelin, the chief executive of Barb, hit back at criticisms that the organisation is struggling to adapt to the pace of change in the television industry and failing to capture the impact of personal video recorders and HDTV.

He said: "Sometimes we can't react until a product exists. Until this happens, we can only think of conceptual solutions. There is an inevitable lag and we recognise that the future will present some new questions as viewer control becomes increasingly sophisticated."