In addition to the current measurement service, BARB concurrently runs a twice yearly tracker survey to identify viewing trends outside of the core BARB measurement service.
This is done via an omnibus survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of BARB. Although limited, the survey does provide broad outlines of viewing behaviours beyond the television set.
The latest results from November 2011 show the growth in television viewing reach via a PC, laptop or tablet is beginning to plateau. In November 2011, 14.9% of respondents claimed to have watched television programmes via a PC, laptop or tablet in the previous seven days. This compares to a level of 14.4% from the same survey a year previous.
This apparent slowdown in growth may be due to the availability of increased PVR penetration in the UK (50% of all TV Households – 2011 Q3 Establishment Survey) and the availability of catch-up services on connected TV devices.
As well as viewing via PCs, the omnibus survey also tracks viewing via mobile phones. Recent results suggest, although relatively small, viewing of television programmes via mobile phones continues to grow year on year. Of those questioned, 7% claimed to have ever watched via their mobile phone, compared with 5% in November 2010.
This growth is particularly prevalent in young adults who are more likely to view than any other demographic. In the most recent results, 6.3% of 15-34s surveyed had used their mobile phone in the last week to watch television programmes, compared with 3.6% the previous year.