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Steps made in reporting ondemand content

16 December 2008

The BARB system has, since 1991, reported 7-day timeshift viewing from broadcast transmissions as part of consolidated viewing figures.

Initially this was via VCR playback, but in 2006 the incorporation of Sky+ DTR (Digital Television Recorder) playback commenced on the same basis.

A multi-million pound rollout of AGB Nielsen Media Research’s Unitam meter from 2006 onwards has enabled material played back on other types of DTR equipment to be reported (including DVD-Recorders).

This has ensured that reported viewing from homes with recording devices has kept pace with an increasing variety of playback equipment attached to TVs.

New forms of distribution are expanding the availability of televisual content and a number of service providers now offer access to material (that has been broadcast within the previous 7 days) on-demand via set top boxes.

‘Catch-up’ on-demand viewing via Digital Cable (DCab) is being incorporated into BARB reporting if the viewing matches a scheduled broadcast. This is being achieved with continued rollout of Unitam meters from AGB Nielsen Media Research. Only playback content which is an exact match to the original broadcast will be included in published data.

Bjarne Thelin, Chief Executive of BARB said “BARB has continually sought solutions to measurement challenges. There remains much to navigate in measurement for the future, but we’re pleased to be able to take another step forward – with the progressive rollout of DCab VOD TV reporting. This represents on-demand material viewed on a television which exactly matches content broadcast within the previous seven days.”

Justin Sampson, MD of AGB Nielsen Media Research commented “The introduction of DCab VOD TV reporting demonstrates that our Unitam system continues to adapt and deliver in measuring television viewing behaviour. Having developed a range of initiatives with BARB over the last few years in order to keep pace with the growth in time-shift viewing opportunities, it’s gratifying to have again enabled an enhancement of the UK’s television measurement service.”


In BARB’s current service, all reporting is geared around scheduled broadcast television and time-shifted viewing within 7 days of an originating transmission.

Where commercials are played-out with on-demand content these will only be matched to broadcast material where the commercials, sequence and timing are the same as in the original broadcast. If different, such commercials will not be reported. If there is any difference in the remainder of the content from that originally broadcast similarly that part will not be reported.

As of 15 December 2008, around 55% of BARB panel homes with Digital Cable are equipped with the Unitam meter, providing functionality for the reporting of VOD TV content – this is being progressively increased in the coming months.

The BARB2010 Service which is currently in set-up phase is also being geared for the capability to report VOD TV content.