GM Thought of the Week: A Momentous Week for BARB


GM Thought of the Week: A Momentous Week for BARB

Gone are the days TV content was consumed on the black box in the living room.  A solution to a single trusted measurement system for views across devices is well over due.  First mentions of project Dovetail date back over 8 years ago and developments have been slow to date.


It would therefore come as a relief to many when BARB announced that multi-screen viewing figures are a reality for the first-time last month.  The data breaks down the number of people watching television programmes across four screens: TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones.


To accompany the launch BARB have released a white paper covering some of the key viewing highlights from 2018.  Outtakes include:


  • 337k people watched England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia on a tablet, PC or a smartphone. That’s enough people to fill Wembley Stadium nearly four times over and represents an uplift of 1.6% on the number of people who watched on a TV set.
  • Some entertainment shows are much more likely to be watched on other devices. The TV set average audience for the episode of Love Island shown on July 15th increased by 24.4% when we include viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones, while the first episode of Made in Chelsea: Croatia saw an equivalent audience increase of 16.8%.


Whilst there is certainly some figures of note across these key viewing moments amongst certain audience’s, the average viewing across Tablets, PCs and Smartphone is reported to be only 1.5% of overall viewership.  A far cry from the 1:4 ratio of VOD:TV model previously communicated from Thinkbox.


The transparency of figures will no doubt affect the trading discussions for on demand platforms.  Rumour would suggest C4 are currently seeking 2-year agreements with a heavy discount incentive for longer term contracts.  Is their timing a coincidence or is there a nervousness amid the release of BARBs figures?


As children’s experts we always approach our analysis from a specialist angle to see how market developments are representing the needs of our own client base.  Whilst children’s content is included the current reporting level is against viewing minutes for all individuals, limiting its use ability for our team.


Where there is a gap however we look to fill it.  Giraffe Insights “Kids and the Screen” project gives us a real time perspective of video viewing amongst 2-9 year olds.  This protects us and our clients from the potential pit falls of audience generic data that excludes the all-important non-commercial players in the on demand space, Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Not to mention Google owned You Tube, a well-documented powerhouse for children’s content viewing and discovery.


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