NEWS24 July 2020

Barb extends research contract tender process

Covid-19 Media News UK

UK – TV audience measurement currency organisation Barb has announced a year-long extension of the tender process for two of its main research contracts due to practical questions over data collection raised by Covid-19.

Person using a TV remote control

Barb has taken the decision to extend the process for the contracts – audience measurement panel and data publication, and survey design and methodology – ‘in light of the current public health crisis’ raising questions over the effectiveness of face-to-face data collection, the organisation said in a statement.

The extension will allow Barb to determine what longer-term impact the pandemic will have on research agencies’ ability to meet its contractual requirements.

The new contracts will now start in 2024, instead of 2023, and run for an initial period of six years.

Barb will also invite tenders for a panel set-up recruitment contract, which it will specify in line with the winning bid for the audience measurement panel contract.

The audience measurent contract is currently with Kantar Media, while the survey design and methodology contract is with RSMB.

Barb is also investigating alternative remote data collection methods, including commissioning Ipsos Mori to conduct a pilot online version of its establishment survey (currently conducted using in-home face-to-face interviews).

It is also exploring remote recruitment of panel homes and TV meters that participants can install themselves, while another pilot project from Ipsos Mori is assessing whether return-path data from Sky homes could be integrated with Barb panel viewing data.

Justin Sampson, chief executive of Barb, said: “Our decision to award long-term contracts for reporting television viewing is still underpinned by the objective to have the versatility to track the technologies used by media companies to reach viewers throughout the coming decade.

“Equally, the public health crisis has raised many practical questions and it’s right we pause to assess the implications for how we specify and commission the research services needed to achieve our objectives. As we do this, we continue to be guided by the principle of delivering audience measurement that is independent, objective and transparent.”