BARB panel to capture viewing on tablets

9 September 2014

Reflecting the rise of new ways for watching television, BARB is today announcing the deployment of a new measurement technique that captures panellists’ viewing on iPad and Android tablets. The measurement solution has been developed by Kantar Media in consultation with BARB and is the first industry solution for the electronic monitoring of people’s behaviour as they consume media on their tablet devices.

The initial objective is to use this technique in BARB panel homes that already have a software meter installed for tracking viewing on desktop and laptop computers. BARB anticipates that around half of these homes have tablet devices that require monitoring. The rollout will be controlled carefully to maintain the size and balance of the overall panel.

The first viewing session that BARB captured took place in mid-August when a panellist watched an episode of Guy Martin’s Passion for Life on the 4oD app on an iPad. Representative data will be published as it becomes available in the coming months.

BARB provides gold standard verified viewing for hundreds of channels, thousands of programmes and ads, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. Current industry-accepted estimates are that up to 2% of all television viewing time is spent watching online TV on computer devices. As viewing to online TV grows, this development marks an important step towards BARB maintaining a comprehensive measurement of all television viewing.

Jonathan Allan, Sales Director of Channel 4, said: “This is fantastic news because of the extremely rapid rate at which tablets have become part of our daily lives. UK broadcasters have developed compelling apps for our viewers to watch their favourite live and on-demand programmes. We’re delighted that BARB and Kantar have overcome research and technical challenges to deliver this solution and look forward to using the insights they generate.”

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive of BARB, said: “The ability to track how our panel members watch television on their tablets is a great step forward and another staging post for the delivery of Project Dovetail. It is also the catalyst for us to build a new panel of homes that have broadband connections but no TV sets. Additionally, we now plan to accelerate deployment in our panel of the software meters that track viewing on laptop, desktop and tablet computers.”

Richard Asquith, Global CEO, Kantar Media Audiences, said: “We are proud to continue working with BARB and the UK broadcasters to enhance the gold standard service. The new technology will deliver an understanding of how people’s viewing on tablet devices sits alongside more established viewing behaviour. Clearly this is important in its own right, but it will also underpin the hybrid approach that we believe is the future of television audience measurement.”

For more information call Caroline Marshall on 020 8240 1056 or Charlotte Martin on 020 7024 8115. Alternatively email

About BARB and Project Dovetail

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

On behalf of these organisations and 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 million TV households.

BARB viewing data 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.

BARB is planning to deliver a hybrid measurement system that will deliver full cross-platform reporting through Project Dovetail. This video demonstrates how Project Dovetail will capitalise on the complementary strengths of representative panel data and census-based site-centric data.

  • BARB’s representative panel data provide a trusted gold-standard currency from which users can establish who is watching in a way that delivers programme reach, demographic viewing profiles and measurement of viewers per screen.
  • Site-centric data provide highly granular information about demand for individual pieces of content. This allows more detailed measurement of long-tail digital consumption.