BARB trials a tablet peoplemeter

14 July 2014

BARB today announced plans to work with Ipsos MORI on trials of the Mediacell Tablet Peoplemeter.

This will be the first substantial test of an innovative meter design and is part of a fresh BARB investigation into new techniques for collecting viewing data. The trial involves 60 homes in London over a 6-month period.

As it plans for future contracts, BARB needs to ensure that the equipment it uses to collect data in its panel homes fits in with consumer expectations of in-home technology. These have naturally changed over time with increased penetration of devices such as flat screen TVs, tablets and smartphones as well as the proliferation of in-home WiFi networks.

The MediaCell Tablet Peoplemeter uses a combination of audio fingerprinting and audio watermarking to establish what is being watched, while panellists can also use the tablet’s touchscreen to register their presence in the room. Alternatively, a remote control handset with buttons allocated to each household member can be used to record which individuals are in the room.

The key objectives of the trial are to:

> Determine the reliability of the device as it identifies which programmes and commercials are being watched.

> Examine whether a device such as the MediaCell Tablet Peoplemeter has a positive effect on the experience of panel members, with an eye to ensuring high participation and compliance rates.

> Establish whether Ipsos MORI’s back-end systems and reporting tools are effective at capturing the data and turning it into the viewing statements that are at the heart of the services we deliver to our customers.

As this is only a trial, the participating homes will not be part of the main BARB panel.

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive of BARB said: “BARB has established Project Dovetail as the means by which we can integrate device-based data with the viewing data that comes from our panel homes. This trial is part of another important element of our strategy, which is to ensure we continue to do the basics as well as we possibly can. Technology moves on and we need to understand how meters can keep pace with these changes, both in terms of how the equipment looks and the accuracy of the data capture techniques.”

John Litster, Managing Director of Sky Media and a member of BARB’s Strategy Board, said: “We all know that consumers have high expectations of the technology that they allow in the living room and other parts of their house. This trial is important as BARB needs to use metering equipment that people feel comfortable with.”

Liz Landy, Managing Director of MediaCT, Ipsos MORI said: “We are delighted that BARB is the first organisation to work with us on trialling the MediaCell Tablet Peoplemeter. We know the gold standard that the technology has to live up to and look forward to working with BARB to evaluate what we believe is a unique metering solution.”


For more information, call Caroline Marshall on 020 8240 1056 or email

About BARB

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.

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.