Data delivery

How does BARB get data to our clients each day?

Once we’ve worked out which members of our representative panel are in front of a screen and which content they are watching, we deliver this information to our clients so that they can judge the success of their programmes and advertising campaigns.

All the retrieval, matching and processing of data takes place overnight, with homes starting to send data back from 2am. We then weight the data, so that the audience estimates we produce are representative of the total population. These are then scrutinised as part of a quality control process operated by BARB’s research agencies, before being released to the industry at 9.30am every morning.

Our clients receive the data each day through an analytics system that enables them to work with the data in the way they want. A number of different systems are offered by companies that are registered with BARB as data-processing bureaux. You can find a full list of these companies here.

Each day, we provide ratings for all of the previous day’s viewing. The vast majority of viewing is still to programmes at the time they are broadcast, and these ratings are often referred to as the overnights. In fact, the overnight ratings also include the audiences that have recorded a programme and watched it back on the same day; we call this VOSDAL or viewing on same day as live.

For many years, we have delivered catch-up viewing that happens up to seven days after the original broadcast. These seven-day audience estimates are commonly referred to as the consolidated ratings. We can also identify viewing that takes place up to four weeks after the original broadcast. This was launched in 2013 and is used by our clients for planning purposes.

As well as reporting viewing in the context of when the programmes and advertising were originally broadcast, we also report on distribution platforms. We can do this because the meters know if the content reached the screen by using a receiver within the TV set or an external device such as a cable, satellite or IP set-top box, a digital video recorder or a games console. We can also identify whether panellists were using one of the many BVOD services that are now available through the TV screen. Similarly, for computer viewing, we can identify whether the content was accessed through a broadcaster’s website or BVOD service.