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Obituary: Audience Measurement Veteran Tony Twyman

November 12 2014

UK radio and television audience measurement veteran Tony Twyman died last Friday, 31st October, at the age of 82.

Tony TwymanTwyman (pictured) was regarded as a dominant figure in the technical and methological development of audience research for both TV and radio measurement in the UK, from the 1950s into the early years of the 21st century.

He read Mathematics at Cambridge as an undergraduate, and later studied and taught experimental psychology at Birkbeck College in London.

During the early stages of his career, he served as a Director at Attwood Statistics, which set up the first TV audience measurement service for commercial television. Nielsen and Attwood later became joint venture partners in the company TAM (Television Audience Measurement Ltd) and Twyman continued there as a Director.

In 1967, the new contract for TV audience measurement was awarded to AGB Research (Audits of Great Britain) and Twyman became Technical Associate to JICTAR, which oversaw the service. He retained this position until JICTAR was succeeded by BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) in 1982, when he became the latter's Technical Advisor, playing a key role in the testing and evaluation of the service.

During the 1970s and into the 1980s he held senior positions at Research Bureau Limited (RBL) which eventually became part of Research International, and when independent local radio started in the UK in 1974, Twyman became Technical Consultant to the JICRAR committee which controlled its measurement. In 1991, radio followed television in adopting a common measurement system for both the BBC and commercial stations - RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research). He continued to represent the commercial stations but his advice was always accepted as completely impartial by all sides of the industry.

Aside from his day job, Twyman chaired the asi European Radio Symposium and the research session of the asi European Television Symposium for many years. Since 2007, the Tony Twyman Award has been presented each year to the author of the conference paper that makes the 'best contribution to a greater understanding of the TV medium and its audiences'.

He continued in his role at BARB until his retirement in 2010, following more than fifty years working in television audience research. After leaving the industry, he focused his time on breeding and rearing sheep on his farm near Stratford on Avon; and on gardening, music, reading and the theatre. He is survived by his wife Hazel. He is survived by his wife Hazel, son Sam, and daughter Chasca.

Our grateful thanks to media research veteran Roger Gane and asi CEO Mike Sainsbury for their help with compiling this tribute.

All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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