BARB awards Dovetail Fusion contract to Kantar Media

17 February 2017

BARB today announces that the Dovetail Fusion contract has been awarded to Kantar Media. Dovetail Fusion will allow our customers to evaluate the total reach of programmes and advertising campaigns across TV sets, personal computers and tablets. 

BARB’s strategy is to deliver trusted and independent measurement of viewing to television programme and commercial content, regardless of delivery platform. Project Dovetail delivers this strategy by combining the strengths of the data that we collect from our representative panel of people with data collected from the devices that are used to watch this content.

The award of the Dovetail Fusion contract builds on the successful launch of the TV Player Report, which first appeared in September 2015. The TV Player Report is the only joint-industry, fully-audited measure of online viewing in the UK. It provides census-level viewing information from over 30 TV player platforms that are used to watch television content on personal computers, tablets and smartphones.

Dovetail Fusion will turn the device data gathered for the TV Player Report into the people data that the industry is used to receiving from BARB. Kantar Media has been awarded the contract based on its prototype submission that was completed in the summer of 2016. The fusion methodology is guided by viewing data BARB has been collecting from software meters that are installed on our panel members’ tablets and personal computers.

Project development has started and is scheduled to be complete in time for launch in March 2018.  BARB will start a roadshow in the second quarter of 2017 to help customers understand the new developments.

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive of BARB, says:

“Dovetail Fusion will deliver the cross-platform viewing currency that our customers want. The daily challenges of delivering television audience measurement require a sophisticated methodology and the prototype development phase has been a critical part of the due diligence that’s necessary for BARB to meet the exacting standards that are expected of us. We’re excited to now move into full development.”

Margo Swadley, UK Managing Director, Kantar Media, says:

“We greatly appreciate the confidence BARB has put in Kantar Media to deliver the next stage of its ambitious strategy and are delighted to be working with the industry on the delivery of this pivotal project.”

For more information contact Charlotte Martin.



Editor’s notes:

BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) provides official viewing figures for UK television audiences. Its principal funders are BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising), ITV, Sky and UKTV. Advertisers are represented at board level through ISBA.

On behalf of these organisations and many other subscribers, BARB commissions specialist research companies Ipsos MORI, Kantar Media and RSMB to collect data that represent the television viewing behaviour of the UK’s 26.6 million TV households.

BARB viewing figures give broadcasters, advertisers and other interested parties a minute-by-minute breakdown of viewing at regional and national levels. This information is vital in assessing how programmes, channels or advertising campaigns have performed and provides the basis for airtime advertising trading.

These viewing figures are currently based on data from BARB’s panel. This panel of 5,100 homes provides representative viewing information that includes programme and campaign reach, demographic viewing profiles and measurement of viewers per screen.

BARB is committed to producing trusted and independent measurement of viewing to television programme and commercial content, regardless of delivery platform. This strategy requires BARB to combine the strengths of the data that BARB collects from the representative panel of people with data collected from the devices that are used to watch this content. This is called Project Dovetail.

There are four stages to this project.

  • Generate census data for online TV viewing: Software codes are embedded in TV player apps used by viewers. Over 30 different platforms have completed software implementations that are audited by ABC to ensure the data meet BARB’s standards. The results are reported each week in The TV Player Report, which was launched in September 2015.
  • Determine how people watch on personal computers, tablets and smartphones: Software meters are installed on the personal computers and tablets of our panel members. These software meters deliver information about what has been watched on these devices and who was watching. Over half of eligible homes on the panel already have these software meters installed on PCs and tablets; a solution for smartphones is being assessed.
  • Establish a fusion methodology: Dovetail Fusion will use the data generated in the previous two steps. As announced in this news release, the contract to deliver this was awarded to Kantar Media in February 2017. Dovetail Fusion is scheduled to launch in March 2018.
  • Work with return path data: Set-top box data offer similar benefits to the online TV viewing census data that BARB is collecting. BARB has conducted successful pilot projects with data from Sky homes and expects to start further pilot projects in 2017.

For further information on how Project Dovetail is being delivered, please visit these FAQs.

Charlotte Martin, Communications Manager