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UK body Barb gears up to measure laptop, desktop and tablet viewing accurately

MUMBAI: UK television and media measurement body Barb has said that it is gearing up to accurately measure laptop, desktop and tablet viewing.

The Barb panel, built from 12,000 people from 5,100 homes, is representative of the UK as a whole: every household type, every viewing platform, every demographic. It also measures live viewing and catch-up viewing up to 28 days after broadcast. Barb users don’t need to guess who’s watching and for how long, they actually know what’s playing on the TV set and who’s there watching it – this is something data gathered from web servers and set-top boxes cannot do.

Now, every time a home joins the panel, it installs software TV meters on the laptop and desktop computers of each member of the household. It has been doing this since 2012 and now have this technology in around 20 per cent of its 5100 panel homes. And it’s rising all the time.

Barb is close to confirming how it will measure its panellists’ viewing on tablets. All being well, Barb should be in a position to report tablet viewing during this year

Project Dovetail

Project Dovetail is a hybrid measurement system that harnesses the power of Barb panel data and device-based data. It is called Project Dovetail because it’s two things fused into one stronger unit.

Tags are a powerful way to organise data in this new system. The broadcast customers tag any content that’s delivered over the internet and Barb blends these data with the viewing information it gets from its panel. That way we know what’s been watched, by whom and on which device.

Project Dovetail is being delivered in a series of steps, with first data due for publication during the second half of 2014. Barb is in the advanced stages of a tender to determine who will deliver the fusion that is necessary to deliver full cross-platform reporting. This is not a simple project and the ambition is to launch this as part of Barb’s gold standard in 2016.

Barb adds that now more than ever it is working to create more innovative ways of delivering the services that customers expect. It said that the delivery of comprehensive TV audience measurement is at the heart of everything done. And it can’t achieve this if it does not consider everything – new devices, new viewing habits.

To help customers get the most out of Barb it looks at everything. From the best way to find out who is watching to what they are watching, when and on which screen.

The development focus is now on answering three inter-related questions:

o how does it track viewing on all computer devices, including tablets and smartphones?

o how does it keep pace with all the new on demand services that broadcasters are making available?

o how does it deliver robust data for all, regardless of audience size?