Join the BARB Panel
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.
As a thank you, members of the BARB panel receive a monthly reward. These can be spend individually or in combination.
Every panel member aged 10 years and over will receive 4,000 points
Every panel member aged 4-9 years will receive 2,500 points
In addition each home will receive 18,000 every 3 months.
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does a TV audience measurement panel work?
(click here or click the screen below to play)
Who are BARB and how does the whole process of measuring TV audiences work?
(click here or click the screen below to find a collection of videos that explain more)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What do I need to do?
A tv meter will be connected to all your television sets and app installed on to all your tablets and computers. 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 computers, simply use the on screen remote.
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 £120 for a single person household per year or £228 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.
Will it cost me anything?
The television meters require a constant mains supply, so part of the rewards payment is designed to cover the small amount of electricity they use. Each meter actually uses less than 0.2kWh of power roughly equal to 3p a day.
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.
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.
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.
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 app affect the way my tablet/computer works?
The app is fully certified for use on all tablets/computers. Rigorous testing procedures are employed to ensure it is compatible with as many different types of computer configurations as possible. The technician who visits to install the meters and app is fully trained and will be able to answer any specific questions you have.
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 software.
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.
How big is the television meter?
The meter dimensions are width 23cm x height 6cm x depth 12cm and has a low energy green LED display. Pics of how the meter looks in real life set up can be found below.
Do all of my televisions, tablets and computers need to be monitored?
Yes, all television sets, tablets and computers need to be monitored. The only exclusions are television sets, tablets and computers that physically cannot be monitored, for instance if the set is broken or stored in the loft.
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.
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.
How does the TV meter work?
The meter works using ‘enhanced audio matching’ as a channel identification technique which is explained below:
How does the meter communicate with Kantar Media?
The TV meter is fitted with a modem connected to the mobile telephone network which calls the central computer to send viewing data to Kantar Media. In rare situations where there is no mobile network coverage the calls can be set up t via a household landline. This system is fully protected, simple, un-intrusive and calls will not cost the home anything.
How does the app work on tablets/computers?
The app is specifically looking for any viewing of TV programmes through broadcasters’ own players and apps only, such as BBC iplayer, ITV player, Sky Go, All 4, STV, UTV, Demand 5, S4C and UKTV Play. On a computer, the app will recognize any sound played, and a virtual remote will pop up on screen allowing the user(s) to register their presence by clicking their on-screen button. On a tablet, registration is done by pressing the individual’s button on screen within the BARB app.
Data strings known as ‘tags’ have been embedded within the TV programmes shown on all participating broadcaster TV player apps. The BARB app detects these tags wherever a programme is watched on any of these players. The app does not have the capability to record or see any personal information held on your device.
How big is the app?
The app uses approximately 6MB of disk space so there should be no effect on the performance of your device. The app uses minimal data usage to send information. This is measured on average as 0.5 kilobytes, dependent on how much you view/stream on your device will contribute to this but it will be very small normally under 1MB.
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.
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.
How is my privacy protected?
Panellists' privacy is taken very seriously. Ipsos MORI 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 MORI, Kantar Media and RSMB).
BARB Lifestyle Questionnaire.
ABOUT IPSOS MORI
Ipsos MORI is an independent research company working on behalf of BARB. Ipsos MORI conducts the BARB Establishment Survey and identifies eligible households to join the TV Panel.
BARB, the Broadcasters' Audience Research board, provides the TV industry with viewing figures, primarily for television programmes, channels, and commercials. It also collects viewing data for TV programmes and video delivered online. BARB is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, UKTV and IPA.
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.
ABOUT KANTAR MEDIA
Kantar Media is the research company that has been asked by BARB to undertake the TV audience measurement. KANTAR Media is one of the world's leading market research groups. Around the globe, they provide TV viewing information in over 30 countries.
Help Shape the Future of TV
BECOME A PANEL MEMBER
USEFUL LINKS & CONTACT US