BARB launches multiple-screen audience reporting

25 September 2018

Television audience measurement body produces programme viewing figures for TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones for the first time

BARB also publishes new white paper, revealing the four-screen viewing figures for summer’s most popular programmes

BARB, the official source of UK television viewing figures, has for the first time begun to report multiple-screen television programme ratings. From today, BARB is producing daily viewing figures which break down the number of people watching television programmes on four screens: TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones.

These multiple-screen viewing figures are the output of Project Dovetail, an initiative established by BARB to meet the television and advertising industry’s need to understand how viewers are watching television on devices other than the TV set.

The complexity of this project means that BARB is launching the initiative in three stages, with the first stage today being programme average audiences. These figures show the number of people watching programmes across each of the four screens. They will be published eight days after transmission, with back-dated figures available for programmes broadcast from 27th August onwards (multiple-screen programme viewing figures will not be available prior to this date).

BARB website users can access the weekly top 15 programmes by broadcaster or by individual channel across four screens in a new dashboard available from 25th September. BARB subscribers will be able to log in to the BARB website to access more extensive weekly programme figures. The data can also be accessed through BARB-registered data processing bureaux.

BARB has also published a new white paper to coincide with today’s launch. Multiple-screen viewing: An introduction to how people watch television across four screens unveils the multiple-screen viewing figures for some of the most popular programmes of the summer. With examples from sport, entertainment and drama programmes, the paper reveals the number of people who watched the likes of England’s nail-biting World Cup journey or the Love Island villa antics across four screens this year.

The second stage, multiple-screen reach* and time spent viewing, will report the extent to which tablets and PCs increase the number of viewers and average weekly viewing time for BARB-reported channels. Headline reach and time spent viewing data will be available on the BARB website, while BARB subscribers will also have access to more complex analysis through data-processing bureaux. The launch date for this stage is TBC.

The third and final stage of the process, multiple-screen advertising campaign performance, is in development, with the delivery timetable to be finalised.

Justin Sampson, BARB’s Chief Executive, said:

“Today we reach another milestone in the delivery of Project Dovetail, which is designed to meet industry expectations for a trusted cross-platform audience currency. This is an ambitious project, as there are many challenges in delivering multiple-screen audience figures to the rigorous standards expected of a joint industry currency such as BARB.

“Three critical ingredients enable us to extend our gold standard to cover viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones. We have representative, observational data that show how people watch on different devices. We also have an independently-collected, census-level count of viewing to BVOD services. And we have smart algorithms that fuel the day-to-day integration of these two high-quality, complementary data sources.”

BARB collects observational data on how people watch television on different devices from a nationally-representative panel of 5,300 UK households. These homes have meters installed that track viewing on TV sets, PCs and tablets.

BARB collects census-level data for viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones from software that’s embedded in broadcast video-on-demand (BVOD) services** by BARB-reported channels. These data include viewing whenever anyone in the UK watches television via a BARB-reported BVOD service.

By fusing these two data sources together, BARB has produced multiple-screen viewing figures. The level of viewing to a programme is aligned to census data, while audience profiles are determined by the observational data from the panel.


*Reach is the net number or percentage of people who have seen a particular piece of broadcast output, e.g. a programme or channel.

**A broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) service is a VOD service owned and operated by a broadcaster, offering on-demand and live streamed programming.

For more information on multiple-screen programme ratings and Project Dovetail, please visit: