Changes to BARB subscriber agreements

BARB has recently introduced changes to the way that it manages agreements for advertisers who use BARB data. Outlined below is why changes were introduced and what they mean for advertisers.

Why is change necessary?

The structure of BARB’s terms and conditions has evolved over the years in a piecemeal fashion. This has resulted in a framework that can be confusing and difficult to navigate. In this context, the BARB Board agreed in 2012 that an overhaul was necessary to simplify the system and to remove ambiguity.

At the same time, BARB is regularly asked by its shareholders to assess risks and to identify mitigating solutions. In line with many other businesses, these risk control procedures are designed to protect against threats, regardless of their potential scale.

The increasing ease with which companies can work with large data sets is seen as an opportunity by BARB. In response, it has established a strategy that should increase the usefulness of the data it provides to users. Equally, BARB has to balance the need to protect its services against competitive threats, for example new entrants being able to acquire its data at little or no cost and using that data as the basis of competitive offerings.

What changes are being introduced?

Historically, advertisers have had four options for accessing BARB data:

Full subscription:
This option enabled advertisers to have full, direct access to BARB data. Advertisers would contract directly with BARB for this option. The annual cost in 2012 was £7,740.
Full group registration scheme:
This option enabled advertisers to receive full analysis of BARB data from a third-party company, typically a media auditing company or econometric consultancy. These schemes have been administered by companies offering these analysis services to advertisers. The annual cost levied to the administrators in 2012 was £5,220 for each advertiser.
Limited group registration scheme:
This option enabled advertisers to access estimates of advertising expenditure that have been derived from BARB data. This would typically be through an advertising expenditure system provided by a business such as Nielsen, who would administer the system. The annual cost levied to the administrators in 2012 was £265 per annum for each advertiser.
Through a media/creative agency that subscribes to BARB directly or through its membership of the IPA:
As part of an advertiser’s routine work with its media agency, it is able to receive BARB data that enable the planning and buying of its television advertising and analysis of these campaigns and those of its competitors. Similarly, as part of an advertiser’s routine work with its creative agency, it is able to use BARB data for the calculation of artists repeat fees. BARB levies no costs for this access.

For the first two of these options, advertisers have been entitled to analyse data outputs with third-party companies on the condition that these businesses hold an appropriate BARB licence for onward distribution of BARB related services.

The changes that take effect from 2013 are:

  • There is no longer a full subscription, a full group registration scheme or a limited group registration scheme.
  • In place of these options, advertisers are being asked to sign an End User Licence Agreement with BARB.
  • This licence is administered through the advertisers chosen data provider of BARB-related services. The annual cost levied to the administrators in 2013 is £5,430 for each advertiser.
  • Should an advertiser only wish to access estimates of advertising expenditure derived from BARB data, the annual cost levied through the administrators is £275 for each advertiser.

What are the implications of these changes for an advertiser?

The first point to note is that there is no change for an advertiser who relies solely on its media or creative agency for access to BARB data. In these cases the routine work associated with planning, buying and analysing television campaigns remains unaffected.

Other than this, each business that wishes to work with a company that provides analytical services which use BARB data will need to have executed an End User Licence Agreement.

The introduction of this licence creates a direct relationship between advertisers and BARB, without altering the means by which advertisers can use BARB data. The licence also creates a transparent mechanism by which all advertisers will know that the obligations they have in using BARB data are fair and equal.

Each legal entity will only need to sign one agreement. This will cover its use of BARB data regardless of how many third-party data providers it commissions to work with the data on its behalf. As such, this change does not mean that advertisers have to sign multiple end user licences.

It is a requirement that the licence is executed by each legal entity that wishes to access BARB data. This legal entity need not be the same legal entity as that which holds the contract with the advertiser’s chosen data analyst partners.

BARB recognises that advertisers will, on occasion, need to share data for internal, upward accountability with colleagues who work for a different legal entity. For purposes of interpretation, this specific instance is acknowledged to be within the scope of the licence agreement.

While BARB cannot know the commercial terms agreed between advertisers and their chosen data analyst partners, the introduction of the End User Licence Agreements should not have a direct effect on an increase in costs for advertisers who have had access through a full group registration scheme. This is because it is not BARB’s intention to cause situations in which its subscribers might seek to profit by asking each of their clients to cover a disproportionate share of their single licence fee.

There has been a tariff increase for all BARB subscribers in 2013 that is attributable to an increase in contractual research costs. There is also a requirement to invest in new forms of data collection that will enable measurement of new forms of television viewing.

In conclusion

We feel there are three important points to highlight.

  • Any company that uses BARB data to provide analytical services to its clients should pay an appropriate price for the level of access to and use of the data that it needs.
  • Advertisers working with such companies must have an end user licence in place. This end user licence covers the advertiser’s work with any number of third-party providers that have paid to use the BARB data.
  • An advertiser doesn’t require a licence for the routine work that a BARB-subscribing media or creative agency conducts on its behalf.

For further information, please contact Sarah Mowbray or Nigel McLachlan at BARB.
Telephone number: 020 7024 8100