2010 panel rebuild

The new BARB service will commence reporting from 1 January 2010. The service as currently defined remains based around fixed location metering capabilities but will be expected to offer reporting possibilities for a separate data release of non-linear content (viewed where fixed metering is feasible).

The new service will be based around non-overlapping regional geography for reporting purposes. This is anticipated to offer statistical benefits and increase ease of additivity vs. current ‘overlapping’ regions.

December 2009 update

The new BARB service is set up and ready to provide the industry with gold standard currency. The set-up has been extensive, thorough and subject to rigorous testing.

An Industry Briefing was held on 25 November. Bjarne Thelin (BARB Chief Executive) and Tony Wearn's (BARB Research Director) presentations describe the execution and delivery of the set up, and outline the key changes to the service.

November 2009 update

BARB is using the parallel run period to apply as much quality checking as feasible in order to ensure that the service is well constructed, functional, deploying calculation procedures as specified and delivering processing requirements to standard. In September and October activities have included the following;

  • The gross installed panel has been maintained in recent months.
  • BARB in September and October deliberately sanctioned a short term reduction in net reporting to pursue some homes viewing investigations.
  • Every effort is being placed on quality control to ensure that homes maintain clarity of reporting (e.g. when new equipment is bought).
  • Verification tests and analyses are seeking to validate from different perspectives the classifications/ attributes carried by viewing statements.
  • The net reporting sample has returned above 5000 as homes investigations have been completed, and should return to full reporting very soon.
  • Systematic checks have been reviewed to ensure a more speedy response to identification of changes to viewing configurations in homes.
  • Data processing clients have access to a full weeks worth of ‘scrambled’ example viewing data, in order to confirm it can be loaded and manipulated by their systems, as required.
  • Disaster Recovery tests have taken place to confirm that system failures at one location can be covered by facilities at another location.
  • Recruitment activity for panel churn (churn is lower than expected) is now mainly resourced from establishment survey respondents.
  • Some additional recruitment is focused on addressing specific panel representation requirements (e.g. 16-24 Householders, ethnic groups).
  • Preparations continue to progress well for Lifestyle Insights, Programme Attribution Service (including training for Broadcasters), and the handling of programme and commercial logs (requiring broadcaster provision to a new format and interface).
  • Planning for and response to Digital Switchover events and Christmas continue to be monitored.

September 2009 update

  • A reporting sample close to or above 5100 has been maintained throughout the summer (excepting 2 separate issues with polling of homes).
  • These polling issues have enabled a work-through of how abnormal events should be approached.
  • The full scale establishment survey is in place and will start to provide the maintenance resource input for panel recruitment in the coming weeks.
  • Digital UK’s digital switchover programme is intensifying - the effect has been considered and planned for, but will be closely monitored to adjust handling of future plans if necessary.
  • Consideration is being given to advance panel planning to minimise the reporting drop that is experienced across the Christmas period.
  • Test ‘example’ data files continue to be released on an occasional basis to prove integrity.
  • Commercial and programme logs are being received from many broadcasters proving this interface and the administration of it.
  • Completion of the Lifestyle Insights first wave is imminent.
  • Fine tuning and transition planning for the Programme Attribution Service are in hand.
  • Rim Weighting developments are now very close to completion.

July 2009 update

  • Approximately 5500 homes were ‘in production’ at the end of June, delivering a reporting sample of around 5100 daily.
  • The Panel is now fully in maintenance mode with processes and monitoring being progressed as if the panel was ‘live’.
  • QC tests and procedures are now up to full scale operation.
  • Verification continues of identification techniques to ensure channel reporting is all being handled correctly.
  • Weighting processes have been implemented with some further development in coming weeks to deliver full weighting functionality.
  • Further issues of test data files are progressing to ensure that data processing system interfaces continue to be developed towards full functionality.
  • Lifestyle Insights Questionnaires are in the field to ensure the additional panel classifications based around lifestyle and usage definitions will be available.
  • The Programme Attribution Service has been through initial stages of development and is being evaluated by some test users.

May 2009 update

  • 5500 homes installed by the end of April - when all these homes are ‘in production’ they are expected to be able to deliver the net reporting panel of 5100.
  • Recruit address selection is increasingly geared to panel balance requirements, for final ‘build’ phase installs and maintenance requirements.
  • Processes are increasingly moving to ‘ongoing’/’maintenance’ mode with development of daily routines and processes.
  • First test data files (containing example ‘dummy’ data) are being released for organisations to verify that their systems can accommodate new BARB output files.
  • Assessments to highlight any potential issues and inconsistencies in methodology have commenced in order to verify or adjust processes and interfaces to required standards.

The parallel run has commenced. Initially all emphasis will be on confirmation that all methodological approaches have been incorporated, and that calculation methodologies have been correctly applied. Weighting schemes will be tested, the application of editing rules, and the execution of QC procedures confirmed. This will be an iterative process to ensure that all reporting facilities and protocols are in place to be able to provide UK television’s industry standard reporting from January 2010.

March 2009 update

  • 4850 homes installed at the end of February.
  • Homes being tested to ensure ability to report to full expectations.
  • Final panel build installation process is naturally slowing to ensure panel balance and representativeness is maximised.
  • Initial versions of industry files are being completed.
  • Establishment survey continues in preliminary lower scale mode, turning to full scale in July.
  • Additional 16-24 Householder targeted recruitment about to commence in April (to aid this difficult recruitment challenge).

An extensive period and sequence of system testing continues and develops, specifically confirming that file structure and integrity are in order.

A parallel run remains scheduled to commence in the second quarter of the year.

The set-up phase is increasingly moving to final stages before transitioning to ongoing maintenance mode. The coming months will be increasingly used to verify that the new BARB service is ready to serve the industry.

January 2009 update

Status of set up progress at the end of 2008 is as follows:

  • 3750 panel homes have been installed.
  • Verification and QC processes are concentrating on confirming installed homes as of ‘reporting quality’.
  • Revisits programmes have commenced to attend to technical issues and queries in homes.
  • Installation and recruitment levels of activity remain high, with dropout so far lower than anticipated.
  • Fuller systematic testing commencing of whole system.
  • Preliminary establishment survey activity commenced as required in November and is ongoing.

Continued focus on panel build activities and development of processing routines works towards the planned parallel run Q2 2009.

November 2008 update

  • 2350 homes have been installed.
  • Channel Identification infrastructures being verified for BARB reported channels.
  • Polling and processing infrastructures being assessed for necessary final capacities.
  • Back-up systems being established.
  • File specifications have been reviewed, amended, and finalised for 2010.
  • Calculation procedures are confirmed.

Panel build continues to be a central part of activity towards the planned parallel run for Q2 2009. A preliminary establishment survey is about to commence which will contribute towards panel maintenance needs. Development of processing routines in response to confirmed calculation procedures is a key area of activity.

September 2008 update

  • First 750 panel homes have been installed.
  • Infrastructures in place to retrieve data daily.
  • Running in process to check data is logical data has commenced.
  • Panel Management and ongoing QC processes being initiated.
  • Recruitment and installation - levels of activity to reach full strength in autumn.

Over the summer the number of technicians and installations has been increasing. These should hit full strength across the autumn, to make significant progress towards the planned parallel run from Q2 2009.

July 2008 update

  • Data interfaces developed between BARB research companies.
  • Active recruitment continuing for panel members.
  • First technicians trained and more in training.
  • Panel homes installation commenced on-schedule w/c 30 June.
  • Meter data collection systems established.

Some key next steps include: finalise technicians training, develop capacity of data collection systems, start confirming homes as appropriately run-in, progression in recruitment, and installation of panel homes which will increase substantially over the coming months.

May 2008 update

  • Work on methodological design and data file structures continues.
  • Discussions to confirm format of the data files for BARB data output.
  • Panel member recruitment commenced on 31 March in time to begin building the new panel in the second half of 2008.

March 2008 update

  • Equipment on order at research companies to deliver requirements, including meters and processing capacity.
  • Set-up teams being established at research companies.
  • Panel member recruitment materials in production.
  • Sampling points drawn for panel set-up recruitment.

December 2007 Announcement

BARB awards new six-year Research Contracts

  • BARB (a joint company of BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) has entered into four new contracts for the provision of research services that will support the BARB service from 1 January 2010. The contracts will run for six years from that date with an option to extend.
  • A contract for Survey Design, Quality Control & Calculation Methodology has been awarded to RSMB.
  • The second, covering BARB's establishment survey, has been awarded to Ipsos MORI.
  • The third contract, awarded to TNS, is a recruitment function to establish and maintain the new BARB viewing panel.
  • The fourth, covering Meter Panel Installation, Data Retrieval, Processing and Audience Reporting functions, has also been awarded to TNS.
  • The new service will be designed around a UK panel rather than overlapping regional panels.
  • The BARB viewing panel sample size remains at 5,100 homes but, owing to these design improvements, statistical benefits will be forthcoming.
  • Although the new service will commence in January 2010, BARB is working towards the system being tested by 2009 and fully reporting in a parallel run mode during the second quarter of 2009.
  • Metering equipment has already been successfully tested in laboratory and home environments.

Full details from the December announcement are available in BARB News.