BARB launches multiscreen audience reporting

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BARB, the official source of UK television viewing figures, has begun to report multiple-screen television programme ratings. For the first time, BARB is producing daily viewing figures which break down the number of people watching TV programmes on four screens: TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones.

These multiple-screen viewing figures are the output of Project Dovetail, an initiative established by BARB to meet the TV and advertising industry’s need to understand how viewers are watching TV on devices other than the TV set.

The complexity of this project means that BARB is launching the initiative in three stages, with the first stage today being ‘programme average audiences’. These figures show the number of people watching programmes across each of the four screens. They will be published eight days after transmission, with back-dated figures available for programmes broadcast from August 27th onwards.

BARB website users can now access the weekly top 15 programmes by broadcaster or by individual channel across four screens in a new dashboard. BARB subscribers are also able to log in to the BARB website to access more extensive weekly programme figures.

The second stage, ‘multiple-screen reach and time spent viewing’, will report the extent to which tablets and PCs increase the number of viewers and average weekly viewing time for BARB-reported channels. Headline reach and time spent viewing data will be available on the BARB website, while BARB subscribers will also have access to more complex analysis through data-processing bureaux. The launch date for this stage is currently TBC.

The third and final stage of the process, ‘multiple-screen advertising campaign performance’, is in development, with the delivery timetable to be finalised.

Justin Sampson, BARB’s Chief Executive, commented: “Today we reach another milestone in the delivery of Project Dovetail, which is designed to meet industry expectations for a trusted cross-platform audience currency. This is an ambitious project, as there are many challenges in delivering multiple-screen audience figures to the rigorous standards expected of a joint industry currency such as BARB. Three critical ingredients enable us to extend our gold standard to cover viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones. We have representative, observational data that show how people watch on different devices. We also have an independently-collected, census-level count of viewing to BVoD services. And we have smart algorithms that fuel the day-to-day integration of these two high-quality, complementary data sources.”


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