Henry Lawson, the chief operating officer of Donovan Data Systems,
has warned that the suspension of Barb could continue to affect audience
data until the end of the month, despite Barb's intention to release
live and consolidated data by 15 January.
He said: "The big problem is not having had quality data. If the data on
15 January needs work then it will take several days before it is clean
and usable for full analysis and things may not be back to normal until
the end of January."
The suspension of audience data arose following problems caused by the
introduction of new equipment and the selection of an entirely new panel
of viewers - the first time this has happened in 30 years.
Barb originally intended to administer the new panel alongside the old
for a four-week period of analysis, but was unable to do this before the
old panel became defunct at the end of December. This has meant that it
has been forced to implement diagnostic tests before the data can be
published as "gold standard".
Lawson blamed ATR, the company responsible for installing the Barb boxes
in panellists' homes. "The root cause is that the installation of boxes
in panel homes is behind and it's still not up to the requirements of
the panel size," he said.
Chris Boothby, the director of broadcasting at BBJ, said that the lack
of data was frustrating both for agencies and clients. He added: "This
is something that could and should have been sorted out before the old
panel was turned off and the new one was introduced."
DDS, which supplies 34 out of the top 35 agencies, has increased
processing capacity by 50 per cent to meet with expected high demand on