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Tablet telly addicts included in TV ratings for first time

James Temperton
9 Sep 2014
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Viewing figures for UK TV now include data from Android and iPad apps as more people watch on tablets

Viewing figures for TV watched on tablets is being recorded for the first time as people turn their back on the big screen to gawp at iPads.

The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB), an industry body that measures TV ratings, said it had developed the technology to monitor viewing habits on iPads and Android tablets.

The first viewing session captured by the new monitoring technology was an episode of Guy Martin's Passion for Life, which was watched on the 4oD iPad app. It is estimated that around two per cent of all TV viewing is done online. Apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD will be all now be monitored.

In order to record TV ratings BARB uses a panel of 5,100 homes across the UK, giving it data on the viewing habits of around 11,500 people. This data is then extrapolated to create viewing figures for the entire country.

Until now BARB has only monitored what these 5,100 homes watch on TV sets and computers, but the continued rise of tablet viewing has forced it to develop new monitoring technology.

BARB said that around half of the 5,100 homes it monitors used either Android tablets or iPads to watch TV. A piece of software developed by Kantar Media is being used to track viewing habits on tablets as well as laptop and desktop computers.

"The ability to track how our panel members watch television on their tablets is a great step forward," said Justin Sampson, chief executive of BARB.

Jonathan Allan, sales director at Channel 4 said it was only right that tablet viewing figures were now being taken into account:

"This is fantastic news because of the extremely rapid rate at which tablets have become part of our daily lives. UK broadcasters have developed compelling apps for our viewers to watch their favourite live and on-demand programmes," he said.

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