Barb to expand audience measurement to include content on video-sharing platforms

Move will make it easier for advertisers to compare performance across linear TV and video on demand platforms such as YouTube and TikTok.

The UK’s television and measurement body, Barb, has committed to expanding its measurement of audiences to include fit-for-TV content on video-sharing platforms.

The decision comes following a 2022 consultation with practitioners from across the UK TV and advertising ecosystem to establish an industry-wide consensus on what types of content on video sharing platforms should be measured.

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive at Barb, said: “We’re appreciative of the deep trust the industry has in our track record for delivering an understanding of what people watch. Yet we also hear a clear call to go further.

“Our new brand positioning builds both on our heritage of continuous innovation and our forward-looking approach to measure viewing behaviour that isn’t constrained by devices, distribution platform or business model.”

Editorial input and oversight, regulatory compliance and content that provides a safe and suitable environment for advertisers were identified as the quality benchmarks content on video-sharing platforms need to hit to be fit for TV.

The expansion of Barb’s audience insights stands to help marketers better understand viewer behaviour and use those learnings for increased marketing performance.

Commenting on the news, Edward Wale, VP Europe at LG Ad Solutions said: “Overcoming measurement challenges in the face of TV audience fragmentation is vital for the advertising ecosystem. As marketers struggle to gain visibility of audiences moving fluidly between linear and streaming content, Barb’s expanded market view will be welcomed by advertisers.

“The additional granularity offered by glass level data [what the TV glass is displaying at any given time] can help marketers activate their learnings and target consumers effectively, providing higher quality ad experiences for viewers. Advertisers can also leverage this data in their post-campaign analysis to bolster their view and continually improve their results.”

The fluidity of the viewing experience

Following the consultation, the importance of understanding the viewing experience and that audience reporting should include contextual factors, such as content in view, device in use and sound on or off has been emphasised.

In response, Barb is exploring ways of reporting all content on video-sharing platforms that is produced in line with industry-accepted standards of brand safety. It currently measures broadcaster content on YouTube with the collaboration of the broadcasters and is committed to extending these existing capabilities too.

Currently, Barb does not know how and when this expansion will be put in place and is open to businesses that make video-sharing content and the platforms that distribute it working alongside them to make audience data more readily available, citing any collaboration as a way to enhance their capabilities.

Jamie Caras, Executive Regional Director & Head of Commercial Strategy: UK & Ireland at FreeWheel, added: “Barbs’s ‘fit for TV’ measurement standard highlights the ongoing progression of convergent TV, which sees audiences moving between platforms and devices without distinction, driven by their appetite for premium video content.

“By reporting on audience figures beyond broadcasters and VOD distributors, Barb is reinforcing the importance of defining what constitutes quality, TV-like content.

“The sooner Barb is able to measure ‘fit for TV’ content across any device and environment, the better marketers will understand the value of all TV inventory for reaching desired audiences. In the long term, this initiative can only help in safeguarding brand’s investments.”