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BARB’s joint R&D initiative with RAJAR

22 May 2006

Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) announces today the launch of a new joint R&D initiative with RAJAR that will start to operate in January 2007. BARB has committed to involvement for one year, with the option to continue.

A panel will be recruited for R&D purposes consisting of 500 reporting adults, within the M25 area. This is an exploratory exercise intended to give BARB a more rounded understanding of the potential for portable meters for television measurement and the issues involved in detection, identification, processing and reporting. The panel will be administered and managed by TNS utilising Arbitron’s PPM devices.

This project will not form part of BARB’s offering of data to the industry but will exist to determine whether such techniques could be expected to deliver any benefits in the future.

The initiative is not seen as a prelude to cross-media measurement of TV & Radio and the data derived will be delivered separately to each organisation.

Bjarne Thelin Chief Executive of BARB commented: “There are efficiency benefits in the collection of data jointly in this project, but each organisation will have sovereignty over the data for the medium they represent. This project provides BARB with an opportunity to generate a lot of learning and will exist purely to give us more information on the viability of techniques in possible system designs”.

The new R&D panel will not contribute to the on-going reporting from the current BARB panel. The R&D panel will allow BARB to increase its knowledge of potential techniques to make effective decisions.

RAJAR’s Managing Director, Sally de la Bedoyere said “RAJAR and BARB are demonstrating the ability to work together to the benefit of both organisations. It’s important that RAJAR remains focussed on the challenges of radio measurement, and BARB on developments in television. This project allows us to pursue our own agendas and provides opportunities to take measurement of both media forward.”

In the future viewer control is expected to increase. Some new forms of television content distribution and consumption are likely to require techniques supplementary to BARB’s existing fixed wired electronic measurement. A wireless technique is likely to be needed as part of the future offering to help identify consumption of transportable content or for equipment that is difficult to wire for the monitoring process.

BARB’s current contracts continue until the end of 2009 and supplier proposals for future system designs will be invited in the coming months.

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Notes for Editors:

The panel will enable BARB to increase their understanding of personal meters. These include:

– Issues involved in running and maintaining a continuous panel i.e. churn, compliance, day reporting patterns, timelags in receiving data.

– How data outputs are configured – comparability of data formats.

– Effect of compliance rules e.g. carry time.

– The detection patterns generated by personal meters.

– The timeframe for reporting.

– The abilities to detect new forms of content distribution.

As well as enhancing understanding of demands placed on broadcasters for insertion of “encoding” (inaudible codes which facilitate identification of channels and content) such as:

– Different types of encoders required.

– The complexities of broadcaster play-out/transmission systems and abilities for encoding to be deployed.

BARB’s investment in the project is being underwritten by BARB’s underwriters – BBC, ITV, C4, five, BSkyB and IPA.

BARB was set up in 1981 to provide the industry-standard audience measurement service for television broadcasters and the advertising industry. It is a not-for-profit limited company owned by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

BARB provides in-home TV viewing measurement for the UK. This is obtained from a panel of 5,100 homes. These homes return data from around 11,500 viewers. Viewing from visitors to the home is included (Guest Viewing). Viewing figures are available to subscribers the morning after transmission. VCR and Sky+ playback is incorporated within 7 days of transmission (Consolidated Viewing). Audiences are reported on a minute-by-minute basis.

The panel design is representative of the whole of the UK. People are recruited from all sectors of the population. All viewing environments in the home are represented. Multiple TV sets are measured. BARB measures both analogue and digital delivery via cable, satellite and terrestrial distribution.

Distributed by Brown Lloyd James on behalf of BARB. Media calls to Sheila Thompson or Debbie Coleman on 020 7591 9610 (sheilat@blj.co.uk) (Deborahc@blj.co.uk)