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Help shape the future of TV

Boy sitting on sofa watching something on a tablet device


Have you ever wondered how television companies decide which programmes to put on the air, or which programmes people are watching and which they aren’t? The most important way is by asking a selection of households to take part in the official UK television audience measurement panel. Here you can find out more about what is involved in joining and what some of the benefits are.


Watch this video to find out more about being a part of the panel.

Take a look at what our current panellists think about being on the panel. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect on installation day

Information Booklets

(Click each image to enter)

Bengali booklet

Information Booklet

Bengali booklet


Gujarati booklet


Punjabi booklet


Polish booklet


Urdu booklet


Thank You Leaflet

GDPR Information

Reward Scheme leaflet

Reward Scheme


Ipsos Logo

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent research company working on behalf of Barb. Ipsos conducts the Barb Establishment Survey and identifies eligible households to join the TV Panel.

Click here for more information


About Barb

Barb is the industry’s standard for understanding what people watch.

As the past, present and future of total viewing measurement, Barb is uniquely placed to empower transformation of the UK TV and advertising ecosystem, through integrated audience data and actionable insights.

Click here for more information


About RSMB

On behalf of Barb, RSMB are responsible for panel balance and structure, survey design and quality control of the Barb panel. RSMB are the market leaders in television audience measurement design, operation and quality control.

Click here for more information

Kantar Logo

About Kantar

Kantar is the research company that has been asked by Barb to undertake the TV audience measurement. Kantar is one of the world’s leading market research groups. Around the globe, they provide TV viewing information in over 30 countries.


As a thank you, members of the Barb panel receive a monthly reward. These can be spent individually or in combination.

Each month:
Every panel member aged 10 years and over will receive 5,000 points. Every panel member aged 4-9 years will receive 4,000 points. In addition each home will receive 21,000 every 3 months. This reward may be higher depending on the number of TV sets in the home.1,000 points is equivalent to £1 worth of goods / vouchers.

Points can be redeemed using a special rewards website or telephone helpline and be exchanged for good or vouchers at a wide range of places, including:

  • A list of around 4,500 individual items that can be claimed directly from the website
  • More than 75 online and high street stores, including; M&S, House of Fraser,
    Debenhams, Argos, Currys / PC World, Next and B&Q
  • General high street vouchers, such as; Love to Shop and Compliments
  • Cinema, Theatre and Restaurant tokens; such as Cineworld, UCI/Odeon,
    Ticketmaster, Theatre Tokens, tkts, Top Table and Pizza Express
  • Days out and experiences; Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Warwick Castle, Madame
    Tussaud’s and many others
  • Points can also be donated to one of our supported charities: UNICEF, NSPCC and Cancer Research UK.


Watch this video to find out more about the Focal Meter and how it works

Who are Barb and how does the whole process of measuring TV audiences work?


What is the Barb Panel?

It is a panel of specially selected homes that allow Barb to monitor their viewing of television programmes. Barb is the accepted source of television audience figures in the UK. If you see an audience figure for a television programme quoted then it has come from Barb.

Who uses the information collected from panel homes?

The information is used by broadcasters to help them better understand their audience. It provides a clear picture of who is and who is not watching different programmes. This helps programme makers to decide what to put on at different times of the day and week. Audience figures are also used by the advertising industry to help them decide where to place commercials.

How big is the Barb panel?

The Barb panel consists of more than 5,000 homes with about 12,000 individuals all reporting their viewing on a daily basis.

What do I need to do?

A TV meter will be connected to all your television sets and a Focal Meter will be connected to the home broadband router. When you are in the room with the television set turned on you will need to press your personal button on the remote control handset provided. For tablets, computers and smartphones you don’t have to do anything, once the installation process is complete the Focal Meter does everything for you.

What are the rewards?

Each month your household will receive rewards points as a thank you for participating in the Barb panel. The amount will depend on the ages and number of individuals in your household. Roughly this amounts to £144 for a single person household per year or £300 a year for a home with two adults and two young children. The rewards are given in the form of points that can be redeemed online or over the phone for household items, gifts and vouchers.

Can my friend join?

Unfortunately we cannot accept requests to join the panel, homes have to be independently selected.

Not everyone in my house wants to participate; can we still join the panel?

It is vital that the viewing behaviour of all individuals in a home is collected so we need the cooperation of everyone. If someone does not want to fully participate then unfortunately your home cannot join.

Will the meter affect the way my TV works?

No; the meter simply ‘listens’ to what is being viewed and does not interfere with the normal operation of the set in any way.

Will the Focal Meter affect my broadband speed?

Data is transferred between the router and the Focal Meter but any impact to upload speeds is negligible. Download speeds are unaffected as there is no interception of incoming traffic.

How big is the television meter?

It’s a 7” tablet with product dimensions 188 x 110 x 21mm.

Do all of my televisions, tablets, computers and smartphones need to be monitored?

Yes, all television sets, tablets, computers and smartphones need to be monitored. The only exclusions are television sets, tablets, computers and smartphones that physically cannot be monitored, for instance if the set is broken or stored in the loft.

How long does the installation take?

This will vary according to the number of television sets, computers and tablets in your home. Generally you should allow 1-2 hours per television, 30 minutes per computer and 10 minutes per tablet.

Why is it needed?

Broadcasters need to understand who is watching their programmes and advertisers need to know where to place their advertising. To do this they must know how many people of different types watch each programme.

Do television companies really use this data?

Yes, accurate viewing figures for programmes are vital in understanding how people watch television on different channels and across different devices. Television audience figures have been collected and analysed since the 1950s and the data Barb provides is critical to the television industry.

Where did you get my name from?

Your home was chosen randomly from the list of addresses maintained by the Royal Mail to complete an Establishment survey interview.  Your home was selected for recruitment to the Barb viewing panel because you fit the profile of homes we are currently trying to add to the panel to ensure it remains representative of the population.

Will it cost me anything?

Each TV Meter uses around 0.25kWh of electricity per day, roughly equal to 8p per day or £31 per year. The Focal Meter uses around 0.05kWh per day, which is around 2p per day or £6 per year.

How long do I need to be on the panel for?

You can stay on as long as you like. We do ask though that you participate for a minimum of 3 months.

Do all members of my household have to register their viewing?

All household members aged 4 and above are asked to register their presence in the room when the television is on or when watching television content on a computer or tablet.  We do appreciate however that it may be necessary sometimes for an adult to register the viewing of younger children.

What about my privacy online?

Only viewing of television content that has been produced and distributed by the main broadcasters in Britain is reported. All the information collected from your computer is designed to help report this content.  Nothing you enter into a website or search engine will ever be recorded or stored by the Focal Meter.

My television is wall mounted does this matter?

No – the technicians are able to install the television monitoring equipment in many different types of television configurations. They will have with them different cables and connectors to allow them to install in most homes.

I don’t watch television, can I still join?

Yes, the viewing habits of everyone in the population needs to be reported and that includes people who don’t watch much TV.

I don’t watch television on my tablet/computer does it still need to be monitored?

Yes, all devices regardless of whether they are currently used to watch television need to be monitored, to help us confirm that no viewing has taken place.

I have a work computer at home, does this need to be monitored?
All TVs, laptops and smartphones are to be included, including work devices. If you are using VPN (virtual private network) to access your work server like most companies require nowadays, the focal meter cannot measure TV viewership for these computers. If you are using your work computer for TV viewership but not logging in via the VPN, then the focal meter can measure your viewership. Again nothing is installed on any device, the focal meter is attached to the router and passively measures viewership on all devices in the HH.

My Data

What happens to my viewing data?

Your viewing data is collected overnight and collated with the data from other homes around the nation. Each morning at 9:30am this viewing data is published by BARB to give broadcasters and advertisers up to date audience figures for the previous day’s television.

How is my privacy protected?

Panellists’ privacy is taken very seriously. Ipsos and Kantar Media act according to the Data Protection Act, the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct and have achieved certification in ISO 20252 2006 which details specifically with standards in market research. Your personal details will not be passed outside the group of companies responsible for BARBs research (Ipsos, Kantar Media and RSMB).

Can I access my own viewing data?

It is not possible to provide individual viewing data, but overall audience figures can be found on the Barb website.