News & Views

Barb commissions Kantar to install router meters into panel

11 June 2019
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Barb, the UK television audience measurement currency, has commissioned Kantar to install its router meter technology into the Barb panel of homes.

The router meters, which Kantar calls Focal Meters, will be attached to the broadband routers in panel homes and are designed to track streaming activity by any member of the household on any device, with their consent.

Router meters will enable Barb to deliver the following service improvements:

  • To distinguish whether post-broadcast viewing was done through a tagged BVOD service or via playback of a PVR recording. Currently, Barb can only make this distinction in panel homes with Sky; router meters will extend this capability to all panel homes.
  • To measure panel members’ viewing on smartphones. At present, Barb has device-based census data for smartphone viewing; router meters will also enable the demographic profiles of smartphone viewing to be reported.
  • To provide greater insight into unidentified viewing (TV set viewing that Barb cannot identify, which accounted for 20% of total TV set use in 2018). A significant portion of unidentified viewing is believed to comprise of viewing to SVOD and online video services; subject to further evaluation, router meters are anticipated to facilitate the reporting of aggregate-level viewing of these services.

The router meters will only track video streaming activity from a designated list of BVOD, SVOD and online video services; other types of internet activity will not be tracked. All data collected from router meters in panel homes will be subject to the same secure handling and anonymisation processes that are currently applied to Barb data.

Kantar will begin to install its router meters into new and existing Barb panel homes in October 2019, and all eligible homes are expected to have had a router meter installed by the end of 2020. The initial publication date for data from the meters will be confirmed in due course. The router meters will remain in place for the duration of Barb’s current audience measurement panel and data publication contract with Kantar, which ends in 2022. Barb is currently conducting a tender process for this contract beyond 2022, and it is expected that router meters will form part of the winning solution.

Justin Sampson, Barb’s Chief Executive, said:

“Whether it is live streaming or watching on-demand, people around the UK are getting used to watching content that’s been distributed through BVOD services and other online platforms. This is why a meter attached to the broadband router in panel homes is a vital capability for Barb to have.

We’re pleased to ask Kantar to install its new technology alongside the meters it has already attached to TV sets in our representative panel of homes. This will allow us to maintain momentum in improving our service, while also running a tender process that ensures we’re working with the research agencies that are best-equipped to deliver a high-quality solution through to the end of the next decade.”