BARB Launches Viewing Data API, Suggests YouTube Measurement

Dan Meier 31 January, 2023 

UK measurement body BARB today launched an API for clients to access viewing data.

The API includes three types of linear data: programme audiences, advertising spots and impacts by time segments. The data sets cover all BARB-reported linear channels on a daily basis, by region and demographic.

The data starts from January 2020 and will be updated daily, in line with BARB’s usual delivery schedules. BARB and Clearcast also provide programme and commercial metadata for the API, the company said. The beta version is free to access for BARB underwriters and clients with a full licence.

It will be further developed over 2023, with plans to add data throughout the year. BARB also suggested expanding the API to incorporate viewing on PCs, tablets and smartphones, as well as non-linear viewing on VOD and video-sharing services.

“The BARB API is an innovative solution that has been developed in direct response to the demand from our clients for quick, easy and flexible access to and manipulation of our viewing data via modern software tools,” said BARB Head of Research Operations Jim Jarrett. “We hope that many of our clients will use the API and give us feedback, so that we can build on and improve it over the course of the next year.”

Counting streams

In addition, BARB has reportedly approached YouTube to enroll in the measurement service. The move would see BBC, ITV and Channel 4 shows streamed on YouTube included in the viewing figures.

The proposals would only cover professionally produced videos and content under editorial control, in line with last year’s consultation into extending BARB reporting to all “TV-like content”.

In 2018, YouTube applied to BARB but was rejected on brand safety grounds. “BARB only reports audiences for services that operate within regulated and, therefore, brand-safe environments,” said BARB Chief Executive Justin Sampson.

But the growth of YouTube as a professional distribution channel, as well as the proliferation of advertising on the platform, has made its viewing figures relevant to marketers.

The measurement body already reports the likes of YouTube and TikTok at a service level, counting total time spent across these platforms rather than viewing data for specific videos. Video-sharing services account for approximately 17 percent of total viewing share, according to the latest BARB figures.

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