The future of online viewing measurement

After years of refusal by the global streaming companies to share their viewing data, new light will soon be shed on the performance of Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ – and PSB streaming services such as All 4 and BBC iPlayer – by the industry ratings body Barb.

From the late summer, Barb expects to publish regular viewing figures for SVoD services on the same basis as those for broadcast television. This will allow meaningful comparisons to be made for the first time.

Hidden Figures: Understanding TV Audiences in the On-Demand Age

Lucy Bristowe, Sky Media’s Director of Insight and Research, Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television, Sarah Rose, Chief Operating and Commercial Officer, ViacomCBS, UK, and Justin Sampson, CEO, BARB, discuss why the TV sector needs to measure on-demand audiences and how BARB is rising to the challenge with its reporting of audiences for these services. Plus, some previously unreported figures on series four of The Crown are revealed by BARB.

Hidden Figures: Understanding TV Audiences in the On-Demand Age

There is speculation that direct-to-consumer services such as Netflix account for large amounts of UK viewing and that this figure has grown significantly during the pandemic. How true is this?        

In this session BARB CEO Justin Sampson explains why the TV sector needs to measure on-demand audiences and how BARB is rising to the challenge with its reporting of audiences for these services. Some previously unreported figures on series four of The Crown will be revealed by BARB.           

Audiences, advertisers and arithmetic: "‘We need to fix commercial measurement"

From left: Kate Bulkley, John Litster, Matt Hill, Rich Astley, Sarah Rose and Justin Sampson. Inset: The Little Drummer Girl (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian/Shutterstock/BBC)

Television is trying to keep advertisers happy and out of the clutches of its online competitors. But, with the growth of streaming services such as Netflix, totting up who watches TV, and when and where, is becoming a complicated business.

This is the key data that advertisers want and which ratings body Barb is doing its utmost to provide, according to CEO Justin Sampson. He was part of a panel at an RTS early-evening event that drew a capacity crowd to The Hospital Club in late October.

Who is watching? The challenge of digital TV measurement | Full video

In the advent of technological development with the introduction of on demand, over-the-top, catch up, scroll back, apps, downloads and much more – can the TV industry keep up with the changes and the ever-growing need to measure TV viewing habits across devices, platforms and other new ways to watch?

Watch as experts discuss the challenge of digital TV measurement, and click here to read the full event report. 

Tracking TV: Is this the end of the overnight sensation?

Ever since TV technology made it possible to measure overnight ­ratings, there have been some in the industry who wish it hadn’t. Programme controllers and advertisers have been accused of not giving new dramas or comedies or entertainment formats enough time to establish themselves. Journalists are blamed for rushing to judgement with headline-­grabbing claims that can damage a programme’s prospects.

Why big data is changing TV

Big data, with Netflix at the forefront, is transforming the way that TV is commissioned and watched, but not as radically or quickly as many in the broadcasting industry believe. Its impact, for the moment, remains most keenly felt in advertising.

This was the conclusion of a sold-out RTS early-evening event, “Big data or smart data? Data and the impact on TV advertising, commissioning and content”. Chaired by the former BBC Media Correspondent Torin Douglas, the RTS panel – composed of both broadcasting and advertising experts – explained the appeal of big data.

Netflix: Hype vs hard data


Last month, a media storm broke out about a landmark change in children’s TV viewing habits. It was widely reported that, for the first time, “young ­people are spending more time online than watching TV”, according to “The Monitor Report 2016” by Childwise.

This was quickly challenged by Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial television. But it highlighted some fundamental questions about the rapidly changing landscape of TV, online and mobile viewing:

BARB to collect digital streaming figures

Radges on BBC iPlayer

The number of people watching on-demand and live-streamed content through online TV Player apps is to be recorded for the first time.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), which already provides viewing figures for UK television audiences, will start producing a beta version of its TV Player Report in September.

The report is the first set of BARB data to focus on viewing that takes place on computer devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.