Barb joins Media Rating Council

Barb joins Media Rating Council
Sampson (left) and Ivie

Barb, the UK’s TV audience measurement body, has become a member of the Media Rating Council (MRC).

The MRC is the US-based auditor of audience measurement services and was founded 60 years ago at the request of US Congress. Barb was set up in 1981 to provide the industry a standard TV audience measurement service for broadcasters and the advertising industry.

As part of the membership, Barb will take a seat on the board of directors and work with the MRC on how to evolve audience measurement standards to meet the needs of the media and advertising industry.

Barb employees will be able to access MRC’s confidential audit results and take part in its accreditation proceedings for online platforms with data used in cross-platform measurement solutions. The MRC’s code of conduct means competitors cannot participate in each other’s accreditation processes.

This will help Barb “better understand” standards compliance as part of its own auditing programme.

George Ivie, MRC’s CEO, said the MRC has “admired” Barb’s work in evolving the UK’s audience measurement system and embracing streaming services alongside broadcasters.

Ivie added: “We’re excited by Barb’s commitment to participate in the digital work of MRC and look forward to making the most of our mutual experience in meeting the industry’s need for audience-centric measurement.”

Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ are the latest streaming members of Barb.

Amazon Prime Video joins Barb

A natural marriage

Justin Sampson, Barb’s CEO, told The Media Leader that the agreement “happened very quickly”.

He described it as ” a really natural marriage” with “a strong overlap” in the work they do to help tackle “internationally shared questions and challenges”, and Barb would have “better and deeper access to data sources” from online companies used in cross-platform measurement.

Sampson noted that it was “fair to say” Barb has “gone further than any joint industry measurement system in embracing streamers” and will be able to share learnings with the MRC.

He added: “We’re both committed to best practice, the advocacy of a shared language across the industry and transparency on data collection and compilation techniques.

“And there’s a good reason audience measurement standards are high on the agenda — they’re vital for advertisers and agencies to confidently account for their media advertising investment and allow sellers to compete fairly for budgets.”

Barb members would not be affected by this agreement and do not necessarily have to be MRC-accredited themselves.

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