BARB Explained

BARB Explained: Our new content ID system

19 February 2020

In January 2020, BARB introduced a new content ID system to ensure the consistency of programme title and genre reporting and to link linear and BVOD content across platforms. How does this work?

Previously, BARB operated two separate systems for the classification of programmes:

  • Programme attribution system (known as PAS) for linear programming, which had limited programme information drawn from the transmission logs and genres provided by broadcasters;
  • Content data master file (referred to as CDMF) for BVOD content, which had more extensive programme classification information, but did not include genre or parent programme details.

The programme attribution system relied on broadcasters to submit accurate transmission logs and to assign genres to their programming. However, often the information provided was missing, inconsistent or incorrect, which resulted in gaps in the system. There was also no process to link programme information across the two systems, meaning linear and BVOD content was not automatically grouped together, and BVOD-only content was not assigned with a genre.

The new content ID system, which is operated by MetaBroadcast on behalf of BARB, is now the sole source of programme information. This new system offers a number of benefits:

  • Programme titles are standardised within and across channels;
  • All content is placed within a hierarchy, meaning that individual episodes are accurately linked to a programme;
  • All programmes are independently assigned with a standard BARB genre, according to industry-agreed rules;
  • Linear and BVOD content is linked across platforms.

The new content ID system master file, which is available on a daily basis to BARB-registered data-processing bureaux, is therefore a complete and consistent source of programme and genre information. This means users can carry out more detailed genre analysis, or conduct an analysis of the same episode of a programme shown across different platforms.

In addition, in January 2020, BARB began to report unduplicated multiple-screen programme reach. The new content ID system means that the Dovetail Fusion process which creates these multiple-screen data can generate more accurate demographic profiles for viewing on non-TV devices, due to the way it works to combine panel and device data. Firstly, the fusion process looks to assign demographic profiles for PC and tablet viewing of a programme episode based on panel members’ viewing of the same episode. If the panel sample is not large enough, the model works through a hierarchy: first it looks for panel viewing to other episodes of the same programme; then broadening to panel viewing to other programmes in the same genre; and finally to panel viewing to the same BVOD service, until the sample threshold is met.

As all programming in the new content ID system has an assigned genre, as well as the correct episode/programme linking, PC and tablet viewing profiles can be more accurately assigned based on the episode, programme or genre, without the need for further expansion through the search hierarchy. The result is more accurate demographic profiles for viewing on non-TV devices for programmes broadcast or viewed from January 1st 2020.

Customers looking for more information on the new content ID system should contact BARB’s Technical Manager, Paul Smith: