Here are the questions that we’re asked most often about The TV Player Report.
What is the TV Player Report?
The TV Player Report is the first joint-industry, audited measure of online TV viewing in the UK. It’s the first deliverable of Project Dovetail.
It reports on the consumption of online TV content in TV player apps. The TV Player Report relies on census-level information that’s generated whenever anybody, not just a BARB panel member, watches programmes on a TV player app. Over 30 diﬀerent platforms have implemented the necessary software to be included in the report.
What is Project Dovetail?
BARB is an independent body that measures viewing of television programme and commercial content, regardless of delivery platform. Project Dovetail delivers our strategy of dealing with fragmentation 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 this content.
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. Over 30 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, over half 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.
- Establish a fusion methodology: Dovetail Fusion will blend the data generated in the previous two steps. Kantar Media was appointed to deliver Dovetail Fusion on February 2017. It’s scheduled to launch in March 2018.
- Work with return path data: Set-top box date 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 expects to start further pilot projects in 2017.
What does the terminology in the TV Player Report mean?
BARB’s customers are used to working with data that represents the viewing habits of people. The TV Player Report focuses instead on devices.
The core metric for determining the popularity of a programme is Average Programme Streams, which represents the average number of devices that played the programme across its duration. It is analogous to the average audience measure that our customers often use to report programme audiences. Each of these metrics conveys the popularity of a programme, although Average Programme Streams is a measure of device usage rather than a measure of how many people are viewing.
We also use the following terminology in the TV Player Report.
- Total Viewing Time – The total number of minutes that devices have received content (this enables a headline comparison of the volume of delivery through each TV player).
- Android – Viewing to content that is made available through TV player apps that can be downloaded on tablets and smartphones running the Android operating system.
- Apple iOS – Viewing to content that is made available through TV player apps that can be downloaded on Apple tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices.
- Website player – Viewing to content that is made available by broadcasters through their own website (accessible through browsers on multiple devices and operating systems).
Which numbers in the TV Player Report are already covered by BARB's established panel data?
Currently BARB only reports online TV viewing when PCs, tablets or smartphones are being cast or projected onto a panel member’s TV screen. As such some of the viewing reported in the TV Player Report is currently included in the viewing estimates provided from the BARB panel.
Are the data generated only from BARB panel homes?
The viewing levels are generated from across the whole population, not just from our nationally representative panel of homes. This census-level approach provides great certainty in overall viewing levels. The viewing data in this report do not represent the number of people that are watching. Instead, the figures are based on device usage.
What is Average Programme Streams?
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 new currency units have been ratified by JICWEBS, the industry-owned body responsible for the independent development of standards for online measurement.
Why are some broadcasters' platforms missing from the report?
Each broadcaster has to schedule the development work in alongside other software development priorities. Many broadcasters have started implementing the software code which means that the report will provide an increasingly comprehensive picture of online TV viewing as time goes on. A number of implementations are currently being audited, which is the final stage of preparation prior to reporting.
BARB will publish data from TV players that have passed an independent audit by ABC. This gives us added reassurance that the analytics are performing as expected and the numbers make sense.
Does the report cover live streaming and on-demand viewing?
Yes, it is designed to report online minutes for both types of viewing, although the following needs to be considered when reading the report.
Firstly, the specific content watched is already identified for on-demand viewing through a system of content IDs. We are able to report which programmes were viewed live by integrating BARB’s comprehensive, as-run programme data logs. Consequently, we can report average programme streams for both live and on-demand viewing. The next step we are working on is to present unified figures; this will be possible when broadcasters make content IDs available in the as-run programme logs.
Secondly, some TV players are still developing the ability to deliver data on live streaming. The delivery of on-demand content and live streaming are often separate technical processes within a TV player. Each of these requires distinct coding, implementation and auditing.
How does BARB deal with dynamic ad insertion?
BARB is the first television industry currency in the world that is delivering 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.
Is viewing to downloads included?
Yes, offline viewing of downloaded content can be captured for broadcasters that have enabled this feature in their TV players. When this feature is enabled, the data for offline viewing of downloaded content are retrieved the next time a device goes online.
What period does the TV Player Report cover?
The report is published on a Wednesday and covers the calendar week that ended ten days previously. It also includes rolling cumulative information for the last four weeks. It is published on the home page of the BARB website (www.barb.co.uk).
What proportion of all online viewing does the report account for?
There is no accepted currency that covers all forms of online TV and video. That said, broadcasters’ own data suggest that as much as 80% of online TV viewing is covered by Android apps, Apple iOS apps and Website players.
What are Android, Apple iOS and Website Players?
These are internet platforms on which broadcasters have developed TV players. The Android figures reflect usage of TV Player apps developed for this operating system that is used on a range of tablets and smartphones, while the Apple iOS data cover viewing that takes place on TV player apps developed for use on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
Website players are found on broadcaster websites which can be accessed through a variety of browsers on multiple devices and operating systems.
Will the report encompass other operating systems?
Yes, we are continuously working to make measurement available for other online distribution platforms, starting with games consoles and Smart TVs.
Does the TV Player Report include viewing through internet-only content platforms?
The methodology is designed to be inclusive for content distributed through online TV players. BARB has no intention to restrict inclusion in the report to its current channel subscribers.
How does the implementation process work?
Kantar provides the software code for the analytics tags to broadcasters in an SDK (Software Development Kit). The broadcaster’s app development teams implement this code within each of their TV player apps.
Having done this, the broadcaster works with Kantar on a series of acceptance tests to ensure that data are being generated in line with BARB’s expectations.
How does the auditing process work?
Once the broadcaster and Kantar are satisfied that the software code (SDK) has been implemented properly, the player is ready for audit.
During the designated audit period, ABC watches content on appropriate devices and checks that what’s reported by the broadcaster aligns with what it expects. It also seeks reassurance that there is no robotic traffic going into the reports, and that the overall numbers claimed for the period can be substantiated by the data supplied. All of this aims to prove that the figures reported make sense and reflect genuine human activity.
Once ABC is satisfied with all its tests, the audit is passed and the player goes live for reporting. Once a player is live, random audits are scheduled during the year to ensure that we can still have confidence in the system. A new audit will be commissioned if a broadcaster makes a major update to a player, such that it’s effectively a new piece of technology.