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UK Telecoms Groups in Challenge to Barb

June 6 2024

In the UK, telecoms giants Virgin Media O2, BT/EE and Vodafone/Three are planning their own audience measure and ad currency as an alternative to Barb, according to reports.

Alternative TV ad currency? Photo by yousafbhutta via PixabayA company, Digital Audience Data Ltd (DAD) was incorporated in June 2023, and has a headcount in double figures according to LinkedIn. The company aims to 'provide digital research of TV viewer habits at scale and with unrivalled precision'. The LinkedIn entry refers to 'generic, imprecise and out of date research from vendors like BARB' (sic) and states: 'In contrast DAD will provide user viewing to the second as well as user profiles and demographic data to aid targeting like never before'.

According to digital publisher www.the-media-leader.com , the new company's sole current listed Director Andrew Cole is a board member of Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media O2 and was a co-founder of GB News alongside fellow Liberty Global exec Mark Schneider - both have now sold their shareholdings in the news channel. In a recent opinion piece for The Media Leader, Cole suggests that UK measurement standard Barb is 'not fit for purpose', and that 'being owned by the broadcasters, advertisers will always worry that an invisible hand [at Barb] is tipping the scales'.

Barb CEO Justin Sampson has pointed out that the organisation is not owned and run solely for broadcasters, but receives key funding from the IPA, which represents the interests of buyers of advertising. Barb has recently taken over responsibility for CFlight, described as the world's only joint-industry total campaign reporting service, which provides free campaign validation for advertisers, and in November set out a timetable for upgrading the system. Three weeks ago it issued the final part of its invitation to tender (ITT) for the next iteration of its audience measurement service, which for the first time includes a requirement for big data, which Barb will integrate with panel data.

Barb also announced last month that it would work more closely with US audience measurement standards body the Media Rating Council (MRC), becoming an MRC member.

On the web: www.barb.co.uk and www.linkedin.com/company/digital-audience-data-dad-ltd .

All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas, 2024- by Nick Thomas, unless otherwise stated.

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