New BARB service

The official TV ratings currency for the UK, BARB, is recognised as one of the most complex audience measurement panels in the world. Replacing it presents a major challenge as the industry can't afford the service to be interrupted. Kantar Media launched the new panel in January this year without a hitch.

John Gill

On 2 January 2010, the first TV viewing figures from BARB's new television viewing panel were released, covering New Year's Day 2010. Representatives from Kantar Media and BARB celebrated the launch of the new service at the recent UK Broadcast Awards at the Grosvenor House, London.

A completely new panel is in place, recruited by Kantar Media (previously TNS Custom Media). The new panel is representative of the UK television household population, presenting BARB with better ethnic profiles  and improved representation by multi-platform homes, as well as metropolitan, urban and rural populations.

The digital revolution is presenting a continuing measurement challenge and the UK is one of the most  technologically complex markets in the world. Speaking at an industry presentation in November 2009, Bjarne Thelin, CEO of BARB described the new system as a "gold standard" currency, allowing greater flexibility for future initiatives created by the changes in structure and methodology.

Kantar Media continues to build on its existing proven technology for current TV viewing platforms whilst working in partnership with BARB to meet new requirements. Indeed, the new service will include the ability to monitor devices for on-demand playback, including games consoles, PCs and set top boxes when viewed through a TV set.

Specific PC and laptop viewing measurement solutions continue to be evaluated and later this year Kantar Media are setting up a test panel for BARB to evaluate the latest developments in this area.

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