TV since 1981

2021

January
The Prime Minster’s announcement of a new national lockdown on January 4th is watched by 14.3 million people on BBC1, followed by 11.1 million tuning in for the subsequent BBC News Special.
February
The final of The Masked Singer on ITV on February 13th is watched by 9.9 million people.
March
BARB launches upgrades to its BVOD planner to improve functionality and user experience. The BVOD planner helps agencies and advertisers plan advertising campaigns across BARB-reported commercial broadcasters’ linear channels and VOD platforms.

Oprah with Meghan and Harry on ITV is watched by 14.8 million people on March 8th.
April
BARB releases a new white paper, The 360° Audience View, which highlights BARB’s established reporting of BVOD services and previews examples of viewing figures for SVOD services.
May
The final episode of Line of Duty on BBC1 on May 2nd attracts an audience of 15.8 million.
June
BARB awards long-term research contracts that are fundamental to the delivery of the UK’s television audience measurement reporting system. The new research contracts, which start in January 2024, ensure BARB’s continued ability to support the UK television and advertising industry until the end of 2029.

As part of this, BARB appoints Kantar to install new metering technology into its representative panel of UK homes, which will increase from 5,150 homes to 7,000 homes. This is the largest-ever increase in reporting sample since BARB’s launch in 1981.

BARB hosts its first BARB Briefing event with guest speakers from Channel 4, OMD, Sky Media and Wavemaker, and launches What People Watch, a new portal for subscribers to access exclusive analysis and insight.
July
England’s semi-final victory over Denmark in Euro 2020 on July 7th is watched by 18.4 million people on ITV, making it the most-watched programme of the year.
August
BARB launches total four-screen viewing with the inclusion of smartphones. This enables the analysis of reach and incremental reach on smartphones as well as the reporting of demographic profiles of the smartphone viewing audience.

BARB releases data from its Establishment Survey for Q2 2021. Due to restrictions on carrying out fieldwork during the coronavirus pandemic, these are the first quarterly results released since Q3 2020.
September
The launch episode of The Great British Bake-Off on Channel 4 gains an audience of 9.6 million people on September 21st.
October
544k people tune in at 12.01am on October 18th for the premiere episode of the third series of Succession on Sky Atlantic.
November
BARB announces a once-in-a-generation upgrade in its audience reporting with the introduction of SVOD and video-sharing measurement. BARB is now able to measure the reach and total time spent viewing SVOD services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix, and video-sharing platforms like TikTok, Twitch and YouTube.

In addition, BARB can also now report the audiences to programmes viewed on TV sets on the most-watched SVOD services in BARB panel homes (Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix).

BARB releases a new white paper, A Defining Moment, and hosts its second BARB Briefing event with guest speakers from ITV and Starcom, to help customers to find out more about the new SVOD and video-sharing viewing data.
December
The final episode of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing is watched by 12.2 million people on December 18th, while 10.1 million tuned into Happy New Year Live! on the channel on December 31st.