The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB), has completed field testing of metering software for measurement of online viewing on PCs, laptops and tablets, and is about to deploy it in 100 homes around the UK. This will be followed by full-scale incorporation of Web-based viewing in its regular UK TV audience reports during 2012. To do this, BARB will recruit a further 1000 homes to create a Web TV panel of 1100 homes that have broadband connectivity. BARB will then report on Web-based viewing alongside conventional TV.
BARB's Web TV measurement will use metering software from Kantar Media, chosen because its Virtual Meter technology goes further than some other Internet audience measurement tools, which look only at hits attained and streams accessed. Virtual Meter uses Kantar's Enhanced Audio Matching (EAM) technology to monitor both live and time-shift viewing and listening. It identifies the source of the video, whether this is a broadcaster site or a content aggregator such as YouTube, by crossanalysing against URL data. In this way, Virtual Meter captures minute by minute viewing data in the usual Television Audience Measurement (TAM) format, which allows it to be consolidated into existing ratings data.
BARB is the UK's official TV audience measurement agency, fulfilling a role similar to Nielsen in the U.S. and many other countries.