Audience measurement organisations

Audiences in the UK are measured by platform specific ‘not for profit’ organisations set up as Joint Industry Currencies (JICS). Joint Industry Currencies is a unique system designed and run in conjunction with industry to provide audience numbers and trading metrics for advertising mediums including TV, Radio, and newspapers. Their motto is ‘objective transparent, accountable’. The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) was established in 1981 as the official organisation measuring UK television audiences. BARB viewing data provides a minute-by-minute breakdown of viewing at regional and national levels. BARB measures viewing through meters fitted to TV sets, laptops, PCs and tablets in a specially recruited panel of 5100 households selected to represent other households across the UK. It was founded by the UK’s major television companies. The Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) is the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK. It is jointly owned by the BBC and the Radiocentre (the trade body representing the vast majority of Commercial Radio stations in the UK) on behalf of the commercial sector. A sample of 100,000 adults complete listening diaries for one week. The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) originally measured printed newspaper circulation but now includes digital audiences. Based on a survey, the National Readership Survey (NRS) was established in 1956 and covers over 250 of Britain’s major newspapers and magazines. The UK Online Measurement company (UKOM) was founded in 2009 to provide an accurate measurement of online audiences. UKOM is not a JICS and is co-owned by the Association of Online Publishers, the AOP, and by the IAB, the Internet Advertising Bureau. UKOM uses a hybrid measurement approach involving a metered respondent panel and site/app tagging combined. Each of these audience measurement systems face challenges in how to ensure they remain accurate in an era of increasingly fragmented audiences and cross-platform consumption patterns.