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Ahead of ad tier reveal, Netflix opens up to UK TV measurement via Barb

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 11, 2022 | 4 min read

Streaming leader Netflix is coming in line with top UK broadcasters by signing up to measurement from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb) just ahead of its ad tier launch.

Netflix building in LA

This news comes as Netflix prepares to enter the world of digital advertising / Netflix

As it makes its first steps into the world of digital advertising, Netflix has been racing to meet the needs of media buyers, aware that it will need to show its working in order to charge a premium. Announced not long after it secured DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science as its measurement partners, the app will now permit its shows to be like-for-like compared to broadcaster content, with Barb’s output being the UK-leading audience currency.

This has been the direction of travel for around a year now for Barb – in December 2021 it introduced measurement of SVOD and social video platforms.

Since then its daily reporting includes aggregate-level viewing across SVOD, AVO and video-sharing platforms too, as well as content ratings for shows on the leading SVOD services.

The data will reinforce that while streaming services have seized upon the imaginations of the TV-viewing public, traditional broadcasters are still seizing national audiences – whereas it’s at the global level streamers start acquiring sizeable scale. This will be reflected in the ad products on offer, which experts think will best align with global campaigns.

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From the second week of November 2022, Barb will report the monthly reach and share of viewing for broadcaster groups and SVOD/AVOD. It will also extend its weekly reporting of the top 50 shows to include shows across all linear channels and SVOD service providers.

In a statement, Reed Hastings, co-chief executive officer of Netflix, said: “Back in 2019, at the RTS conference in Cambridge, I welcomed the idea of Netflix audiences being measured independently. We’ve kept in touch with Barb since then and are pleased to make a commitment to its trusted measurement of how people watch television in the UK.”

Justin Sampson, chief executive officer of Barb, added: “Our audience measurement continuously adapts to accommodate the new platforms and devices that are being used by people to watch their favorite television shows. We took a big step forward last year when we started reporting audiences to streaming services. Netflix’s commitment to Barb sends a clear signal that what we’re doing is valuable to new and established players in the market.”

Learn more about Netflix’s evolution into a partially ad-funded product here.

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