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Research contracts further 3yr extension

2 December 2004

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) announces today that it is taking up options to extend its research contracts for a further three years from 1st January 2007. The contracts were issued to run from 2002 to 2006 with options to extend to 2009.

BARB has ensured that the extensions to 2009 allow flexible evolution of the service in the face of changes in the television industry. BARB now has a 5-year period to work with its contractors to develop the service, including the ability to integrate new equipment capable of measuring PVRs.

The BARB contracts are held by RSMB (responsible for sample design, calculation methodology, and quality control), Ipsos UK (responsible for the Establishment Survey), and ATR UK (responsible for metering, data collection and processing).

BARB’s Chief Executive, Bjarne Thelin, said today: ‘The current BARB measurement system was designed for the digital television environment. It is delivering well on a consistent basis and the design remains the most relevant base for the foreseeable future. We can maintain and expand its relevance by continual exploration of new methods and technologies and, where appropriate, integrate new approaches to upgrade the system.

‘The current contractors and contract structure provide a sound framework within which to develop the system. This extension to 2009 allows us to work with them to plan for the television audience measurement systems of the future.

‘We are already adding to the service with the delivery of ratings against sponsored programmes, and will shortly be issuing the results of our Lifestyle Insights survey. This will complement standard audience viewing data with additional panel classifications covering how viewers spend their time and their money. In the first half of 2005 we expect to start reporting PVR playback, and we’re progressing with investigations of techniques to expand the measurement of interactive services.

‘Throughout next year, we will be consulting with the television and advertising industries on future needs, and we plan to share our thinking on options for detection techniques and methodologies for the years ahead.

‘Television continually faces changes in technology, consumption and distribution. The UK is one of the world’s most advanced TV markets to measure, and BARB’s goal is to provide this world-leading UK Television market with an objective, credible, gold-standard service.’

Notes for Editors

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 (Live Viewing). VCR 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 are represented. Multiple TV sets are measured. BARB measures both analogue and digital delivery via cable, satellite and terrestrial distribution.

For further details see www.barb.co.uk