BARB postpones first digital channel data

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.

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

future.



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

healthy.



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.



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