BARB Explained

BARB Explained: Anatomy of a programme audience

26 October 2018

It’s essential for our customers in the television and advertising industry to understand the many different ways that people are choosing to watch their favourite television programmes. This week, BARB’s Chief Executive, Justin Sampson, gave an audience at a Royal Television Society event a whistle-stop tour of all of the new types of television viewing that BARB now reports, from pre-broadcast and catch-up viewing through to watching on devices.

The centrepiece of the presentation was this anatomy of a programme audience, which showcases our reporting of all of these types of viewing.

The eight-part drama Killing Eve premiered on BBC1 on September 15th 2018, with all of the episodes made available on BBC iPlayer at the same time. Looking at episode four, just under 3.9 million people watched it on BBC iPlayer before it was shown live on October 6th. This pre-broadcast viewing was predominantly on a TV set (3.24m), but a substantial number of people also watched on a PC, tablet or smartphone (630k), totalling 3.87m in pre-broadcast viewing.

As you’d expect, the live audience of 2.26m was almost entirely on a TV set (2.25m), with a mere 10k watching live on a PC, tablet or smartphone.

After the episode aired, a total of 2.48m people watched it via catch-up, either on-demand through BBC iPlayer or timeshifted by playing back a PVR recording. Of these, 2.34m watched on-demand or timeshifted on a TV set, while 140k caught up on a device.

In total, the TV set audience for this episode was 7.83m, with an additional 770k watching on devices: a device uplift of nearly 10%. In total, there was an average audience of 8.6m people for this episode, from its first appearance on BBC iPlayer though to seven days after the live broadcast. This figure will increase when we include viewing 8-28 days after broadcast.

This is a great example of how we can deliver insight on how people are watching television, regardless of the device used or whether it was pre-broadcast, live or post-broadcast. However, not all programmes are the same when it comes to viewing on devices other than the TV set.

To see further examples of the device uplift for recent programmes across a range of genres, you can read the presentation and read the event report and watch highlights on the Royal Television Society website.

To find the latest multiple-screen viewing figures, visit the four-screen viewing dashboard.