BARB is under pressure to provide more accurate multi-platform audience viewing and measurement data. It has recently been canvassing stakeholder’s opinion to identify future non-linear viewing requirements.
Advertisers were unanimous that BARB's exploration of non-linear measurement is critical to its survival. Granularity across content type (e.g. live, catch up, archived content, bespoke content and user-generated content) was seen to be more important than granularity across platforms.
Adding to the pressure is Sky’s single-source viewing panel, SkyView - a panel of 33,000, (as opposed to BARB’s panel of 5,100), providing more granular data direct from set top boxes on channels being accessed. The BBC and Channel 4 have also both launched standalone measurement services to provide combined viewing figures across linear TV and their on-demand services iPlayer and 4oD.
Broadcasters have historically been able to charge advertisers premium rates for prime slots based on the seemingly robust figures of BARB data. With the introduction of sophisticated platforms, potentially offering more accurate data, broadcasters may need to rethink their standards of measurement and share them with brands.
In reaction to this, BARB is rolling out a new measure of TV viewing on PCs and tablets to provide more accurate information. It has three main deliverable's pertaining to Project Dovetail:
- Generating census-level data for online TV viewing
- Understanding how people watch on computer devices
- Fusing panel data with census data
BARB is also in conversations with both Facebook and Google/YouTube in order for them to provide audience data to enable advertisers to compare them with other online data. The conversations are at different stages at present but progress, albeit slow, is being made.