Here are the questions that we’re asked most often about our plans for the future.
What is BARB's scope for audience measurement?
BARB delivers the audience currency for television programmes and the commercial opportunities that appear with these programmes.
Our daily audience currency provides figures for viewing through TV sets, which remains the vast majority of current monies at risk. We have started collecting data for viewing on personal computers, tablets and smartphones.
We measure viewing live at the point of broadcast and timeshift viewing up to four weeks after broadcast. We can also measure viewing to non-linear programmes that haven’t been broadcast in the previous four weeks.
Beyond this, our customers’ primary requirement is to understand how much time is spent watching programmes and commercials that are distributed through SVOD services and other online platforms.
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How can BARB deliver total reach across all devices?
Calculating total reach needs to recognise the challenges posed by a fragmenting market. This naturally demands larger samples to deliver robust results across the whole market.
Our solution for robust measurement of total reach relies on combining two data sources; people data from our established panel and data sourced directly from the devices that are used to watch online TV.
Our representative panel of homes is critical. Without this, it’s not possible to understand the reach of a programme/campaign, demographic viewing profiles and the number of viewers per screen.
BARB also collects census data for online TV viewing. We’ve been publishing the UK’s only fully-audited, joint industry measure of online viewing since September 2015. The viewing figures are generated from software code that’s been added to TV player apps such as All 4, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, SkyGo and UKTV Play.
Fusing these data sources will deliver robust cross-device reach for the television and advertising industry. We call this Project Dovetail.
Will cross-platform reach be available for commercials as well as programmes?
Yes, BARB will publish data so that advertisers know how online VOD campaigns increase the reach and frequency of linear advertising campaigns. Data will be available at the advertiser/brand level and by device type.
By way of an example, Advertiser A could see that its campaign for Brand B achieved the following.
- Linear campaign: 66% reach at an average frequency of 3.4 on TV sets.
- On-demand campaign: 12% reach at an average frequency of 1.6 on TV sets and computer devices.
- Linear + on-demand campaign: 68% reach at a frequency of 3.6 all devices.
Will BARB provide the trading currency for online VOD?
How does BARB deal with dynamic ad insertion?
BARB is the first television industry currency in the world to deliver a measurement of dynamic ad insertion. Our service is designed to achieve two objectives.
- We report an aggregate level of commercial impacts that are attributable to dynamically inserted ads.
- We ensure that these commercial impacts are not attributed to advertisers whose linear ads have been swapped out for dynamically inserted ads.
We currently deliver this solution for Sky’s Adsmart service, although we don’t provide a verification service for individual Adsmart campaigns.
We are in discussions with other broadcasters and platforms that are developing dynamic ad insertion propositions. The objective is to, at least, replicate the level of transparency we provide for Sky Adsmart.
Can BARB measure audiences for Amazon Video and Netflix?
Yes we can, in the same way that we report our panel members’ viewing to non-linear programmes.
The solution, launched in early 2016, relies on the rights’ owner providing a copy of its programme assets to Kantar Media. This material is added to the audio reference library that’s used to determine which programmes have been watched by our panel members. BBC has provided over 300 non-linear assets to date; Sky has recently started supplying non-linear assets.
This solution could be used by the owners of content distributed through any SVOD service.
We are also exploring how router meters can be deployed in panel homes to deliver an aggregate level of viewing to SVOD services.
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Can BARB measure viewing on online platforms?
BARB’s strategy requires census-level measurement on online viewing for television programmes and commercials. This is made possible by software code that is embedded in online TV player apps. This code can be implemented by any online platform that wishes to be part of the BARB currency.
BARB’s objective is to meet industry requirements for an apples-with-apples currency. This is with regard to: a) viewing metrics, b) contextual reporting of reach and frequency, and c) editorial environments that operate within the framework of regulatory best practice.
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What are BARB’s metrics for online TV viewing?
Our metrics for online TV viewing are comparable with established currency units such as average audience and TVRs. These are based on the principle of an average duration audience.
There are two metrics at the heart of our plans for reporting online TV viewing; average programme streams and average ad streams. The calculation for each metric divides the total amount of time spent viewing by the duration of the programme/ad.
These currency units have been ratified by JICWEBS, the industry-owned body responsible for the independent development of standards for online measurement.
How does BARB define viewability on personal computers, tablets and smartphones?
BARB’s priority is to apply principles of television audience measurement as we report audiences for online TV programmes and associated commercial events.
This is why we’ve chosen duration-based metrics for online TV that are comparable to established measures such as average audience and TVRs. BARB doesn’t intend to just report viewing based on 50% of the commercial being in view for two consecutive seconds.
The majority of online TV viewing is through tablets and smartphones, which collectively accounted for 64.3% of time spent watching during Jan-Sept 2017. All of this is viewable, as viewing data aren’t generated when people minimise a TV player app or browser to do something else on a tablet or smartphone.
Viewability is a potential issue when online TV is viewed on personal computers.
Commercial broadcasters are currently assessing the range of viewability products that have been certified by ABC in line with JICWEBS standards. These should identify more precisely the extent to which online TV ads are viewable on personal computers. In the meanwhile, commercial broadcasters can provide information on ad completion rates.
Are BARB’s online data vulnerable to click fraud?
BARB commissions independent auditing to reinforce the trustworthiness of our published viewing data.
The audit process verifies that data we receive has removed three types of activity: a) viewing from IP addresses that are located on the business premises of the broadcasters whose programmes are being measured, b) non-human traffic, and c) traffic from outside the UK.
The audit process is conducted by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations).
Can BARB use registration data that are collected by TV players?
BARB is interested in the demographic information that is supplied by people when they register to use a TV player app. The benefits of online TV census data are amplified when we know something about the home/person the data are coming from.
We are currently investigating what registration data are available and the associated privacy implications.
What is Project Dovetail and when will it be delivered?
Project Dovetail delivers BARB’s strategy of dealing with fragmentation. It does this by combining the strengths of the data that we collect from our representative panel of people with data collected from the devices that are used to watch programme and commercial events.
There are four deliverables.
- Generate census data for online TV viewing: BARB achieves this through software code that’s embedded in TV player apps used by viewers. 40 different platforms have implemented this software and been audited by ABC to ensure the data meets BARB’s standards. The results are reported each week in The TV Player Report.
- Determine how people watch on personal computers, tablets and smartphones: Software meters are installed on the personal computers and tablets of our panel members. These software meters deliver information about what has been watched on these devices and who was watching. Currently, around two-thirds of eligible homes on the panel have these software meters installed; we are exploring how this might also be installed on our panel members’ smartphones.
- Deliver full cross-platform reporting: Dovetail Fusion will achieve this by blending the data generated in the previous two steps; the census data determine the online TV audience levels, while the demographic profile comes from our panel data. Kantar Media has been appointed to deliver Dovetail Fusion, which we expect to launch for programme data in March 2018. Crossplatform reach and frequency for advertising campaigns will follow at a later date, to be confirmed.
- Work with return path data: Set-top box data offers similar benefits to the online TV viewing census data that BARB is collecting. BARB has conducted successful pilot projects with data from Sky homes and is in discussions with other platform operators about running pilot projects.
What is the TV Player Report?
The TV Player Report is based on the only joint-industry, audited measure of online TV viewing in the UK. It’s the first deliverable of Project Dovetail and relies on census-level information that’s generated whenever anybody, not just a BARB panel member, watches television programmes through a TV player app.
40 different platforms have implemented the necessary software to be included in the report.
How will Dovetail Fusion work?
Dovetail Fusion will enable our customers to analyse the relationship between online and offline viewing behaviours by fusing two data sources.
- BARB panel: Our representative panel of 5,100 homes delivers evidence of who has watched what, and on which device. Software meters are installed that track how panel members watch on personal computers and tablets.
- Online TV census data: BARB reports the level of viewing through TV player apps across the whole population. These viewing levels are based on device usage and don’t represent the number of people watching.
In simple terms, Dovetail Fusion will align audience levels to the census data, while audience profiles are aligned to the panel data.
The process starts by converting the census data into people-based audiences for programmes and commercial events.
- How much do people watch online TV together? An all individuals number is calculated by applying a co-viewing factor to the average programme streams.
- Which types of people watch online? Demographic profiles for online viewing of programmes and commercial events are based on how BARB panel members have viewed the programme on their personal computers and tablets.
- Does this work for all programmes? Dovetail Fusion uses a range of contextually appropriate variables to generate audience profiles. This is because the number of panel members viewing a particular programme on a given day will not always be enough to generate a robust profile.
- What about online VOD commercials? The process is no different in principle to that of programmes: census data will create an accurate assessment of viewing levels, while the panel provides the demographic context.
Having converted census data into people-based audiences, Dovetail Fusion will deliver two output files.
- Every online event that is viewed each day will be reported against an agreed set of audience categories.
- A respondent level file will allow detailed analysis of behaviour trends, including the assessment of how much online platforms are adding to the audience reached through a TV set.
We expect Dovetail Fusion to launch for programmes in March 2018. Cross-platform reach and frequency for advertising campaigns will follow at a later date, to be confirmed.