Nielsen loses Barb ratings contract to TNS

LONDON - TNS has won the contract to measure TV audiences for industry ratings body Barb, taking over the contract from AGB Nielsen.

Barb (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) - which is jointly-owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - has signed four new contracts for the provision of research services that will support its ratings measurement activities service from January 2010. The contracts will run for six years with an option to extend.

TNS has picked up two of the four contracts, with one deal covering meter panel installation, data retrieval plus processing and audience reporting functions. A contract for survey design and quality control / calculation methodology has been awarded to RSMB. Meanwhile, a contract covering Barb's Establishment Survey - which will survey the characteristics of the television-owning population and include an element of direct recruitment for the viewing panel - has been awarded to Ipsos MORI.

Finally, a fourth contract, also awarded to TNS, is a recruitment function to establish and maintain the new Barb viewing panel.

Going forward, Barb will be designed around a UK panel rather than overlapping regional panels, which Barb said will be more rep Barb viewing panel sample size remains at 5,100 homes.

Justin Sampson, managing director of incumbent AGB Nielsen Media Research, said it was "disappointed that Barb does not share our vision for how our system will continue to deliver audience measurement for all forms of viewing across all platforms."

The new system aims to measure new trends such as time-shifted viewing, video-on-demand services and time-shifted playback from personal video recorders such as Sky+.

Barb also expects to begin trialling TV viewing via PCs via both fixed meters and software metering.

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