Barb tackles TV fragmentation by capturing tablet, PC and smartphone audiences

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb) has undertaken a major overhaul of its ratings system by taking into account multi-screen viewers across all TV, tablet, PC and smartphone mediums for the first time.

Acknowledging the era of distraction we now live in, Barb will launch a four-screen viewing dashboard from Tuesday (25 September), from which users may view the top 15 programmes of the week arranged by average programme audiences, arranged by either broadcaster or individual channel for each type of screen.

A later phase of development will include the time spent viewing, forming an accurate gauge of the extent to which tablets and PCs serve to increase both the number of viewers and dwell time. Ultimately Barb hopes to quantify advertising campaign performance across multiple screens.

Justin Sampson, chief executive of Barb, said: “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.”

To coincide with this revolution, Barb has also published an accompanying white paper Multiple-screen viewing: An introduction to how people watch television across four screens; which documents the impact of multi-screen viewing on the likes of the World Cup and Love Island.