What does BARB stand for? BARB is an acronym for Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board. What is BARB? BARB was set up in 1981 to provide the industry standard television audience measurement service for broadcasters and the advertising industry. BARB is owned by BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising), ITV, Sky and UKTV and is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. BARB commissions research companies to provide the services that our users want, including the production of audience viewing figures. The audience measurement contracts are held by the following companies – RSMB, Ipsos MORI and Kantar Media (formerly known as TNS). How does the audience measurement process work? See How we do what we do. What is the difference between live and consolidated BARB data? Live data report viewing that takes place at the time of the original broadcast. Consolidated data incorporate playback of timeshifted content up to 28 days after the original broadcast, although most viewing analyses in practice only include timeshifted viewing up to seven days after broadcast. Timeshift viewing is added to the live data to produce consolidated viewing data. What is the BARB gold standard? Gold standard refers to the calculation methodologies agreed by BARB. All the viewing figures we report are a result of implementing these gold standard methodologies. What is VOSDAL data? VOSDAL stands for Viewing On Same Day As Live. VOSDAL includes timeshift viewing that occurs on the same day as the original broadcast. This is included in the overnight files released at 9.30am the following day. For example, if a film starts at 5.30pm and is recorded for viewing later the same evening, say 9.00pm, this viewing is captured and reported in the overnight file published the following day. What are database 1 and database 2? BARB TV set viewing data are collated into two databases; database 1 and database 2. Database 1 contains the raw viewing statements for each home and individual in the BARB reporting panel for each day, together with all the classification details for each home and individual needed for reporting purposes. Analysis for any audience, including non-standard audiences, can be undertaken with data from database 1. The Lifestyle Insights Survey is analysed in conjunction with database 1. Database 2 contains pre-processed time-based audiences (based on 1, 5 and 15 minute intervals) as well as audiences for programme transmissions, commercial spots and commercial breaks. Data taken from database 2 is used by the industry for trading purposes. What age groups are reported by BARB? All individuals aged 4+ are measured and reported by BARB. Within this, a user may look at any age group they wish. What is the minimum amount of viewing that can contribute to ratings? The viewing is reported by clock minute. Each clock minute is attributed to the channel that is viewed the longest within the clock minute subject to there being at least 30 seconds of viewing. How is the audience for a programme calculated? Programme audiences are calculated by averaging the audience of all minutes covered by the programme transmission, from the start-time to the end-time of the programme. This calculation excludes any embedded commercial breaks and promotions. How is the audience for a commercial calculated? The audience for a commercial is the audience for the clock minute in which the commercial starts. What happens if you playback programmes from PVRs like Sky+? Is this included? Yes, non-live viewing from PVRs like Sky+ and other recording devices such as DVDRs are measured and included in the viewing figures as timeshift viewing. If a programme has been viewed on the same day as the original broadcast the viewing will be included in the overnight files as viewed on same day as live (VOSDAL) data. Otherwise, if it has been viewed within 28 days of the original broadcast it will be included in the consolidated data. What viewing data are available? BARB TV set viewing data are available for a range of audience data, including overnights, dayparts, programme and commercial information, time lengths, reach and channel share of viewing. Data can be accessed as live, VOSDAL or consolidated data. We also now report viewing figures across PCs, tablets and smartphones; see the multiple-screen viewing figures FAQS for further information. How do I get BARB data? Accessing BARB data is available in two ways. For BARB users (please see how to subscribe) there is the option of purchasing the data sets directly. Each individual set of data can be purchased as required: Data Sets 1: Daily panel viewing file and multiple-screen viewing file. (These minute-by-minute files contain anonymous details of panel members’ viewing.) Data Set 2: Daily consolidated 5-minute or 15-minute files and programmes. Data Set 3: Daily consolidated commercial spots and breaks. Overnights: 5-minute file of viewing data that is produced the next day, from the previous day’s transmission. Sponsorship File: Weekly file of viewing data for sponsorship events. Lifestyle Insights (Additional Panel Classification) File: Additional information about panel members’ lifestyles and habits, used in conjunction with Data Set 1. BARB Establishment Survey data file The cost of the data sets is listed in Section 3 of the BARB rate card (& terms and conditions of use). As dedicated software is required to interrogate these data sets, the majority of BARB users choose to receive BARB data directly from a data-processing bureau. These data-processing bureaux have developed user-friendly software programmes for their clients to extract and analyse our viewing data. BARB itself does not provide audience analyses to subscribers. Here is a list of the data processing bureaux. Accessing BARB data via an end user licence (limited usage) this can be obtained from one of the data processing bureaux, which will administer the licence fee and issue the end user licence on BARB’s behalf. Please note that data obtained through an end user licence (limited usage) may only be used for internal purposes. A BARB licence is required if the data are required for external purposes; for example, the reselling of BARB-related services, sharing with third parties or publishing in any form, electronic or otherwise. Are the figures which are reported the next day, often called overnights, official figures? Whilst overnight data are not the final figures as exact programme timings will not have been incorporated and timeshifted viewing remains to be added, they are standard BARB output. How far back can I access viewing data? There are BARB data on the website for both the total viewing summary and multi-channel summary beginning w/e 4th January 1998, with top 30 and top 10 programmes commencing w/e 5th July 1998. TV since 1981 contains the top 10 programmes for each year. Two data bureaux, Kantar Media and RSMB have data going back to 1992 and 1993 respectively. How do I find viewing figures for a specific programme? If you know the date and channel on which the programme was transmitted, you may be able to find the multiple-screen viewing figures in the four-screen viewing dashboard. Alternatively, the TV set viewing figure may be found in the archive viewing data section for programmes broadcast before September 2018. If a programme’s viewing figure is not on our website, a data bureau will be able to help you. If you do not hold a BARB licence, you may be able to access the data via an end user licence (limited usage). The data bureau will administer both the end user licence (limited usage) and the licence fee on BARB’s behalf. Please note that data obtained through an end user licence (limited usage) may only be used for internal purposes. What does a zero or very low TV set programme rating mean? Any sample-based research study is subject to sampling variation (also known as sampling error). BARB’s viewing figures represent an estimate of the actual size of the audience and there is a margin of error associated with each viewing figure. If a TV set programme rating is reported as zero, this does not necessarily mean that no-one in the UK watched the programme; it means that no one on the BARB panel watched it. However, the real viewing figure is likely to be low (under 10,000 people in most cases). Further details of the potential margins of error can be found in the guide to sampling error. Looking at channel or programme viewing data averaged over a longer period of time will provide a more reliable indicator of performance than using overnights ratings, which will be subject to greater fluctuations. The BARB panel is a sample of 5,300 homes, containing approximately 12,000 people, who together represent television viewing across the UK in terms of household type, demographics, TV platform and geography. This means that each panel member represents, on average, around 5,000 people in the UK. We are looking at the option of building a bigger panel of homes in order to reduce sampling variation. A larger panel would mean increased cost – and wouldn’t lead to higher viewing figures – but it would help to reduce sampling variation overall. I do not have a BARB licence so how can I access BARB data? Summary share, reach and programme data are available on the website within the Viewing data section. Aside from this, for a non BARB licence holder a small amount of data may be purchased via an end user licence – limited usage. An end user licence – limited usage can be obtained from one of the data bureaux which will administer both the end user licence – limited usage and the licence fee on BARB’s behalf. Please note that data obtained through an end user licence – limited usage may only be used for internal purposes. If you are interested in purchasing a BARB licence please go to how to subscribe. What is the size of the BARB reporting panel? The BARB reporting panel is 5,300 homes. The panel homes are located across the UK and represent the viewing of all individuals aged 4 and over within the household (plus their guests) and return data on a daily basis from around 12,000 people. All digital terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms are represented. How long do the panel members serve? In general, panel members are recruited to be on the panel for as long as they wish. There is no maximum length of membership. Are panel members paid? Panel members are not paid for participating on the BARB panel. Instead they are thanked for taking part with a choice of gift vouchers from a variety of outlets that appeals to all ages. They also receive a regular panel newsletter that includes competitions and opportunities to enter free prize draws. What happens if a home decides not to continue as part of the panel? The BARB panel is designed to allow for continual change. Panel controls are deployed to ensure that the panel remains representative of the UK as homes leave to be replaced by newly recruited homes. A predictive model selects likely recruitment requirements based on anticipated participation rates. What procedures are there to ensure that the data collected from panel households is correct? Quality control procedures are carried out on a continuous basis to ensure that the panel members are following the correct procedures. Telephone checks are made to panel homes to verify that excessive viewing to one particular channel or nil viewing is genuine viewing behaviour, for example. What happens if a panel home goes on holiday? The panel home will remain part of the daily reporting panel. What happens if a panel home gets new equipment? An engineer will be sent to the panel home to connect the peoplemeter to the new equipment to ensure that the viewing is captured and measured. Whilst this is taking place, the panel home may be temporarily taken off the reporting panel until quality control checks are passed. Can I join the BARB panel? You cannot volunteer to join the panel. Panel households are selected randomly, with controls in place to ensure that all sectors of the population and all TV viewing environments in the home are represented. Every home has a chance of being selected to join the panel. How is television viewing defined? Panel members, or their guests, are defined to be viewing when they are present in a room with a television set switched on. See this BARB Explained to understand how this principle extends to viewing on PCs, tablets and smartphones. What is a universe? Universe What is the BARB Establishment Survey? The BARB Establishment Survey is a continuous survey undertaken to determine the ownership of television equipment and demographic characteristics of the population and includes some 53,000 interviews per year. Results are used to determine the panel controls against which the panel is maintained and to provide the universes of each demographic category required for reporting viewing data. BARB Establishment Survey respondents also provide the pool of households from which BARB panel homes are recruited. What is the Lifestyle Insights Survey? Lifestyle Insights enable BARB users to analyse viewing behaviour relative to viewers interests and activities, in addition to the standard demographic categories, to produce more specifically defined groups. All BARB panel members aged 16 and over are sent a self-completion questionnaire which provides additional information about them, such as their interests and hobbies, what they do for entertainment, their media consumption, internet usage, the kind of holidays they take, what type of car they drive etc., as well as a set of attitudinal statements, some of which cover broadcasting and advertising. There are hundreds of additional classifications for panel members detailing, for example, frequency of airline travel, fitness, cooking and interest in the environment. Specific groups can be identified and their viewing separately analysed, gardeners or those especially interested in business matters, for example. How many channels are BARB reported? At present there are over 275 channels that are separately measured and reported. A comprehensive list of BARB reported channels (excluding interactive channels) can be found on the total viewing summary. Is every television channel that can be viewed in the UK measured? Yes, every broadcast channel that can be viewed in the UK is measured but only those channels that a broadcaster requests to be measured are reported individually. Viewing to all other channels is combined and reports as other viewing, which contributes to total viewing. Does BARB measure out of home viewing? BARB does not measure TV set viewing undertaken outside of residential households. For TV sets, guest viewing is the only type of out-of-home viewing measured. Visitors to panel households are asked to record their viewing. Guests are asked to provide details of their sex and age group via the peoplemeter handset. This provides an estimate of viewing that takes place outside the viewer’s own home but within another private household. BARB does measure out-of-home viewing on non-TV devices and this is included in the four screen viewing data reported on the website. Does BARB report the audiences for radio stations that are on the digital television platforms? No, radio audience data is provided by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) www.rajar.co.uk. How is data about panel members processed and held? BARB does not itself have access to the panel members’ personal data. The anonymity of panellists is sacrosanct and all data is handled by our research contractors. The research contractors process and anonymise the data before handing it over to BARB. We are committed to ensuring that data about our panel members is kept secure and continuously verify that our suppliers comply with the relevant information security standards and conduct periodical risk reviews. How does BARB ensure that the data collected from panel members is kept secure? The data collected from panel members form part of the databases that BARB delivers to its customers. While it is possible to look at the viewing patterns of each home and individual in the BARB reporting panel each day, all personal data about panel members is removed and replaced by industry standard classifications such as gender, age, region, social class and geodemographic. How does BARB represent the viewing behaviour of ethnic groups? Our first objective is to recruit the right number of ethnic households onto our representative panel of UK homes. The design of our panel includes targets for the number of homes of different types. We derive these targets, which include ethnicity, from the official UK census population figures. There is no better source available if we are to properly reflect the breadth of the UK population. To meet these targets, BARB continuously assesses the effectiveness of our recruitment techniques. This has been particularly important for parts of the population that have historically been more difficult to recruit; these include some ethnic groups. We have introduced new techniques that have been instrumental in increasing the number of ethnic households on our panel. Consequently, we have been more successful in reaching our targets for recruiting ethnic groups during the past few years. Smaller channels, including ethnic channels, can often experience volatility in their data. Reducing data variability is an important objective for BARB; bigger samples are a natural route to achieving this goal, although it should be remembered they don’t necessarily lead to higher viewing figures. To achieve our objective, we have reviewed the option of working with third-party data sources, such as information collected by television platform operators from set-top boxes. These data are often called return-path data. BARB needs to consider the impact of integrating any third-party data source on the audience levels we report across the whole population. Our investigations show that using third-party data from only one platform destabilises viewing figures for channels that are watched across multiple platforms. As a joint industry currency, BARB would need to work closely with all platform operators to generate a sample of return-path data that delivers value across the board. We don’t currently have this level of cooperation. In this context, BARB is focussing on the option of building a bigger panel of homes that is representative of the whole UK.