UK ratings organisation BARB is to include online and catch-up services in its ratings reports by the end of this year.
BARB will begin measuring catch-up viewership for services including BBC iPlayer, 4oD and ITV Player, providing an official measurement of audiences on these services for the first time.
BARB has now appointed Kantar Media to collect census data for TV viewing through computer devices and tablets. From the autumn, the ratings body will measure IP delivered services as well as over the air transmissions.
Kantar Media will work with broadcasters on embedding programme and advertising content with metadata tags. These will be collected to provide a census-level report into the popularity of content delivered through IP.
First published reports are expected by the end of 2013. The second of this project, dubbed Project Dovetail, will see BARB award a contract to integrate the census data with established viewing figures.
According to BARB, field tests of a new app in the early part of the summer should lead to a rollout for measuring viewing on tablets and smartphones by the end of the year, supplementing the computer viewing that it already tracks in 700 panel homes.
The latest move follows BARB’s installation of web TV meters last year in homes of its panel members in a field trial. BARB has now begun installing the web TV meter in all new panel homes., with about 700 installed to date. For catch-up services, BARB has committed to publishing viewing that takes place between eight and 28 days after shows are originally broadcast.
Justin Sampson, CEO at BARB, said: “This news is pivotal as BARB will track audiences using metadata tags for the first time. Our initial focus is on reporting the extent to which IP content is being downloaded or streamed. This is a significant step forward in our ambition to deliver cross-platform measurement of content. The next step is to invite research companies to tender for the task of integrating this data with the viewing figures that our users are already familiar with.”