TV Switches On To New Ratings System

The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) has revealed it is to use a new TV ratings system in 2010.

As a consequence, this could trigger an increase in viewing figures, when on January 1st, the system is to include a more representative geographical design.

It will also feature a completely new viewing panel which has already had a trial run in 5,100 homes.

It took place during a four-week period up to November 8, with BARB reporting that channels were found to have a 4% higher rating compared to the existing arrangement.

This can only be good news for broadcasters who continue to struggle under a tough advertising market.

Any increased ratings could provide a boost to their fortunes in the New Year.

BARB - jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - said that the new system is not a radical overhaul, but rather a refinement of the operation already in place.

When implemented next year, it will cover 300 itemised channels and a selection of minority channels grouped as "other viewing".

The new panel is designed to give a better representative of the UK population, including more accurate ethnic profiles and a greater understanding of multi-platform homes.

A new regional map will ensure that there are no overlapping territories and full coverage of catch-up viewing on Virgin Media and Sky will be factored into figures.

Programme viewing via non-TV on-demand platforms will still not be included in the ratings, but a test panel to cover specific PC and laptop viewing could be created in the future.


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