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BARB outlines blueprint for the future

1 August 2006

BARB is issuing its blueprint for the future shape of the service on August 1st 2006 – the 25th anniversary of the start of reporting of viewing data by BARB.

As part of its formal process for awarding its new research contracts (to start January 2010) BARB is making available its ‘Request for Proposals’ document to potential suppliers. Proposals and indicative tenders will be received in December 2006. Invitations to tender are expected to be issued in spring 2007, for final tenders in summer 2007, with the award of contracts planned for the end of 2007.

‘Request for Proposals’ describes BARB’s expectations of the nature and shape of the future of its service. It outlines a vision of measurement of televisual content wherever it is consumed within the home as its primary goal, including the need to cover new forms of viewing such as pc streaming and on-demand services. The increase in viewer control over where and how televisual content is consumed is identified as an important consideration, expected to result in more timeshifted, transportable and on-demand content.

BARB is also considering extending its measurement to include out of home viewing. This will be dependent on appropriate techniques being proven and the expected incremental cost.

The issue of the Request for Proposals documentation follows on from an extensive programme of consultation with stakeholders, exploration of options for the service, and the creation of future scenarios.

BARB envisages the potential for development of two separate panels, one deploying fixed meters attached to TV equipment, and one deploying wireless portable meters. BARB believes that this may be the best way to deliver the measurement of established television, timeshift viewing, transportable content, on-demand, and other possible advances in TV. BARB envisages that the output from two panels is combined to produce BARB data. Some different elements of reporting, however, may be delivered from each of the separate panels. BARB is encouraging potential suppliers to consider its blueprint and offer new ideas and innovative solutions to meet the challenges of measurement for the future.

A range of functions are anticipated to form the BARB service – an Establishment Survey, panel recruitment, a fixed meter panel, a portable wireless meter panel, data fusion to deliver unified audience reporting, and quality control and methodological aspects of the service. The opportunity to add to available measurement with return path data or server data is also highlighted. The blueprint will be reviewed in the light of actual solutions proposed by interested suppliers.

The BARB service continues to develop under its current contracts – as set out in the Notes below – but for 2010 there will be an opportunity to redefine the shape of aspects of the service.

Organisations interested in submitting proposals and indicative tenders can apply online at for access to BARB’s Request for Proposals documentation.

Notes for Editors

Last year BARB’s overnight reporting was enhanced to include same day playback of timeshift or VOSDAL (Viewing On Same Day As Live), and an electronic version of BARB’s Establishment Survey was launched.

Sky+ reporting was introduced in March 2006, and the monitoring of other PVRs and DVD recorders is currently being introduced.

Investigative programmes into measurement techniques also continue, with options to report VOD (video on demand) being assessed, the launch in 2007 (jointly with RAJAR) of BARB’s R&D panel using wireless meters, and other R&D studies under consideration.