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Barb receives 24 applications for measurement contract

LONDON - Official television measurement body Barb has received 24 proposals from 12 different unnamed organisations in response to its tender for potential suppliers to construct the next generation of measurement.

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Applications for the tender are set to address new measurement concerns revealed by Barb, including the measurement of on-demand programming, time-shift content and wireless-based broadcast technologies.

The new proposals are just part of Barb's proposals TO broaden its measurement remit. In June, Barb updated its people meter devices in more than 500 homes to measure non-Sky+ personal video recorders and recordable DVD players. Barb had already started measuring Sky + use three months previously.

The measurement body has also recently come under pressure from Sky and ITV to cover TV viewing outside the home, with ITV claiming Barb failed to measure up to 20% of its audiences for England games during the World Cup this year. The terrestrial channel estimated 3m viewers watched the England games in the pub.

In August, Barb said it planned to split its panel to take into consideration out-of home viewing in response to the concerns.
Bjarne Thelin, chief executive of Barb, said: "I am encouraged by the response to this first stage in our tendering process.

"In the Request for Proposals document, Barb emphasised some issues for the future that are expecting to be addressed. Whereas once viewer choice was about which content was consumed, increasingly the how, the when and the where need to be added."

The request for proposals was the first formal stage in Barb's tendering process for new research contracts, which will be required by the measurement body from 2010.

The process will now continue with a more defined invitation to tender expected to be issued in April 2007, with final tenders anticipated to be received in July 2007.

The measurement firm said that its goal in assessing the proposals in the coming weeks is to examine how effectively potential suppliers may be able to deliver the required measurement for the future, in the context of what the television industry may be prepared to fund.

Barb was set up in 1981 to provide the industry-standard audience measurement service for television broadcasters and the advertising industry. It is a not-for-profit limited company owned by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

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