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The 2010 BARB panel

1 August 2010

Geographical Panel Controls

The BARB 2010 panel was constructed for the digital age, designed using panel control areas based on digital satellite non-overlapping regional delivery.

Relative to the 2002-2009 panel, the change to non-overlapping reporting areas in 2010 has allowed for a better use of the national sample. Panel homes are now more evenly spread across the UK than was possible under the required design for the previous panel and therefore better reflect the distribution of the population. This provides a larger effective sample size at the Network level.

The 2010 panel has more geographical controls within the reporting areas to reflect the distribution of the population within these areas. Geographical controls are now applied within Wales, Scotland, Ulster, London, Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and North East.

In addition there is a control for population density within all areas, to balance the distribution of the panel in rural, urban and metropolitan areas.

Panel Balance and Stability

The BARB 2010 panel has brought about significant improvements in panel design and recruitment.

The panel is controlled across some 300 demographic cells covering all aspects of household and individual classifications including lifestage and social economic class through to geographical segment controls, television reception capabilities and device types. This allows for a more complete representation of the UK household television market.

Additional recruitment activity was undertaken in late 2009/early 2010 to improve the ethnic mix of the sample and help to ensure that the 2010 panel reflects the ethnic profile of the population. There is improved representation by multiplatform homes, as well as metropolitan, urban and rural populations. The participation rate of the new BARB panel is very encouraging. The average annualised drop-out rate of 18% is low, especially for a new panel (the annual average drop-out rate in 2009 was 20% for a panel that had been reporting for 8 years). An increase in total TV viewing can partly be attributed to an increase in viewing to sets other than the main TV set in the household. Across 2010 to date, total viewing is up 7.6% year-on-year.