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BARB publishes first on-demand and live-streamed TV viewing report

Wednesday, September 30th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The company responsible for official UK TV audience measurement has published its first report measuring online TV viewing figures.

The TV Player Report is the first set of BARB (the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) data to focus on viewing through mediums other than a traditional TV set, such as laptops and desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Publishing figures for its first week, BARB said the report focuses on activity at a device level, rather than a personal level, with data generated by a new software code that has been implemented by broadcasters.

The report, which has so far been introduced in beta as further developments are made, includes data from All 4, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Sky Go and UTV Player, and many of their associated apps.

Other TV players and platforms are currently being audited and will be added to the report in the coming weeks.

BARB said the ongoing development will help its customers to understand TV viewing at a time of innovation and growth.

The report, which covers the week ending 20 September, shows that the total time for viewing on audited online TV players was 670.5m.

It found that weekly viewing is increasing with the arrival of autumn schedules and the start of the Rugby World Cup, which led to a lift in live streaming through ITV Player.

Programme data is currently only available for on-demand viewing, but the report shows that the most watched on-demand programmes during the week ending 20 September included The Great British Bake Off, Made in Chelsea LA, Doctor Foster and Coronation Street.

'Gold standard'

The report includes a new metric to help determine the popularity of online TV programmes.

‘Average programme streams’ represents the average number of devices watching across the duration of the programme – it takes into account the number of devices that started to watch a programme and the length of time the programme was watched.

BARB is also working on other developments that will allow it to report average programme streams for TV that is watched live online; total time spent watching on-demand programmes by originating channel, and consumption of online TV advertising.

Justin Sampson, chief executive at BARB, said: "It's great that BARB is starting to report the level of online TV audiences.

“The TV Player Report bears testimony to the industry's commitment that BARB works towards a comprehensive measurement of viewing to television and video content, regardless of the delivery platform."

James Purnell, director of strategy and digital at BBC, added: "The BBC welcomes BARB's extension to include a gold standard measure of online viewing.

“We believe it is vital to capture how people are now viewing on whatever device they choose and this is a big step towards that goal.

“We also look forward to BARB's future planned developments in this area which will ultimately help us to fully understand the complete picture and so enable us to optimise the value we deliver for different audience groups."

BARB previously called the report “one of the most advanced audience measurement systems for online TV viewing in the world” and said it will help deliver Project Dovetail, which will combine device-based data with BARB’s panel data.

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