What's next

At BARB, the delivery of comprehensive TV audience measurement is at the heart of everything we do. And we can’t achieve this if we don’t consider everything – new devices, new viewing habits.

To help our customers get the most out of BARB, we look at everything. From the best way to find out who is watching, to what they are watching, when and on which screen to how the content got to that screen.

Our development focus is now on answering three inter-related questions:

  • how do we track viewing on all computer devices, including tablets and smartphones?
  • how do we keep pace with all the new on demand services that broadcasters are making available?
  • how do we deliver robust data for all, regardless of audience size?

Here’s a glimpse of some of our priorities.

Gearing up to accurately measure laptop, desktop and tablet viewing

The BARB panel, built from 12,000 people from 5,100 homes is representative of the nation as a whole: every household type, every viewing platform, every demographic. It also measures live viewing and catch-up viewing up to 28 days after broadcast. BARB users don’t need to guess who’s watching and for how long, they actually know what’s playing on the TV set and who’s there watching it – this is something data gathered from web servers and set-top boxes cannot do.

Now, every time a home joins our panel, we install software TV meters on the laptop and desktop computers of each member of the household. We’ve been doing this since 2012 and now have this technology in around 20% of our 5100 panel homes. And it’s rising all the time.

We are close to confirming how we will measure our panellists’ viewing on tablets. All being well, we should be in a position to report tablet viewing during the autumn of 2014.

Project Dovetail

Project Dovetail is a hybrid measurement system that harnesses the power of BARB panel data and device-based data. We call it Project Dovetail because it’s two things fused into one stronger unit.

Tags are a powerful way to organise data in this new system. Our broadcast customers tag any content that’s delivered over the internet and we blend these data with the viewing information we get from the BARB panel. That way we know what’s been watched, by whom and on which device.

Project Dovetail is being delivered in a series of steps, with first data due for publication during the second half of 2014. We are in the advanced stages of a tender to determine who will deliver the fusion that is necessary to deliver full cross-platform reporting. This is not a simple project and our ambition is to launch this as part of BARB’s gold standard in 2016.

Now more than ever we are working to create more innovative ways of delivering the services that our customers expect. At the same time, we can’t step away from the rigour which is in BARB’s DNA. We’d love to keep you up to date with progress, so please sign up to receive updates.