Between the Lines: Barb gets to grips with PVR

Personal video recorders such as Sky+ have sparked a rash of debate proclaiming the death of TV advertising.

So much so, in fact, that the PVR has been demonised by anybody with a vested interest in maintaining the advertising status quo. And, for the rest of us, it has become a shorthand for the confusions of the fragmented TV landscape.

Now Barb is going to start measuring exactly how much TV is being watched through PVRs (page 7) in an attempt to clarify the picture.

Not before time, either. The new Barb system will offer a clear, even puritanical picture. It will only measure normal-speed viewing; viewers who fast-forward through the ads won't be counted, even though there's evidence that a speeding ad can still have commercial relevance.

So, at last, the ad industry will have a decent, measurable and accountable system for tracking PVR use. Whatever the findings, at least the industry will finally be able to strip out the hyperbole and begin to put the PVR effect into some sort of context.