Audience figures for digital TV channels are likely to remain a
mystery for months to come after the first tranche of data failed to
materialise this week.
BARB, the official measurement system for all TV viewing, is working on
viewing data for the new digital TV channels and TV buyers had been
expecting the release of figures from this week.
BARB has now said that no information will be released in the immediate
Caroline McDevitt, the chief executive of BARB, said that agencies who
were expecting the figures this week had been misled.
’There is erroneous information in the marketplace and it’s not
emanating from us. We have never said we’d have the figures ready this
week,’ she said.
Some sources have suggested that one reason for the delay could be that
a number of broadcasters - who are also shareholders in BARB - are keen
to hold back data until their digital viewing figures are more
But without the data, advertisers have no firm idea about how many
people are seeing their commercial messages on the digital channels, and
the broadcasters cannot track viewer interest in their programming.
According to Mark Jankowski, the TV research manager at MediaCom TMB,
the number of viewers who were to be covered by the digital measurement
panel, though small, was sufficient given the current penetration levels
of digital TV.