BARB, the TV audience measurement system, has recruited the former
director of Westcountry Television, Caroline McDevitt, as its new chief
McDevitt will be charged with overhauling the way that TV viewing is
recorded in the digital TV age, steering the introduction of a new BARB
contract in 2001 and rejuvenating the image of BARB in the media
McDevitt replaces John Fox at the head of the company, officially taking
over on 1 January, but with a month’s handover in December.
According to Nick Phillips, the chief executive of the Institute of
Practitioners in Advertising and one of the key figures behind the
appointment, McDevitt’s television experience makes her ideally suited
to the job.
’Caroline has director-level experience of a TV company and experience
of outsourcing various contracts which will be invaluable when it comes
to the new BARB contract. Although she’s not a researcher, Caroline’s a
long-term user and exploiter of BARB data,’ he said.
McDevitt will have a broader base of BARB shareholders to deal with now
that the old BBC/ITV BARB duopoly has been broken down to embrace a host
of new broadcasters.
She will also oversee the specification and the tendering process for
the new BARB contract, which kicks off early next year for a 2001
start-date. McDevitt will be hiring a number two next spring who has the
technical skills and experience to help steer the specification.
The new contract will have to embrace the hundred-plus new digital
channels and debate is now raging about the detail media buyers will
need to deal with the new channels.
McDevitt said she was attracted to the job because BARB was undergoing
such radical change. ’BARB will be critical to the buying, selling and
measuring of TV in the future and it is very exciting to be involved in
driving that,’ she said.
Her appointment represents something of a departure for BARB, which in
the past has been criticised for its anonymity and fustiness. Phillips
admitted that, with McDevitt, ’we have deliberately skipped a
generation’, while McDevitt said she would work to improve BARB’s image.