TV bosses call on Barb to grow viewer panel

TV advertisers have called on audience measurement body Barb to commission a major increase in the size of its panel, and are demanding it switches to new technology to deliver more information about viewing habits.

Barb has now finished the first phase of its major consultation process, called Future into View, which will dictate how the body restructures to take on board the massive change in the TV industry.

This week, Barb revealed it had been "inundated" with responses to the consultation, which had run on longer than expected.

Media Week understands that one of the biggest issues to emerge is the size of the Barb panel which, at just over 2,000 homes, is dwarfed in terms of size by the recently launched Skyview panel.

"Having a bigger panel is clearly a big issue," said one TV boss.

Major concerns have also been raised about Barb's ability to accurately measure digital viewing.

Many respondents, including the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, have called for Barb to lead the search for technology that would measure all broadcast media, in and out of home.

Barb has urged caution about expanding its remit and warned of the major cost of expanding its panel. However, many taking part in the consultation, including shareholders in Barb, admit privately that it might struggle to cover the explosion of multi-channel, let alone the growing TV content available via other areas such as the internet and mobile.

Barb was recently forced to suspend indefinitely the reporting of Sky+ viewing data, citing "quality control" issues.

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