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Conference Analysis: BARB project Dovetail two years from market

12 September 2014

How do you keep track of the audience in the age of connected devices? Now that more and more people view content on their smartphones or tablets, have organisations like BARB come up with new and accurate measurement tools?

At a conference moderated by media commentator and journalist Kate Bulkley, ‘Following the viewer: Audience tracking and measurement in the connected era,’ Justin Simpson, BARB’s CEO, gave the lowdown on project Dovetail, a hybrid measurement system that harnesses the power of BARB ‘traditional’ panel data (12,000 people from 5,100 homes in the UK) and device-based data.

“To my knowledge, nobody has delivered anything on this scale and ambition ever before,” he claimed. But he also admitted that the new hybrid measurement system was “probably two years away” from hitting the market. One of the main challenges is obtaining universal acceptance for a standard of measurement that matches the accuracy of the traditional panel method.

Jane Clarke, managing director of CIMM (the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement), presented project BluePrint, which is attempting to develop such a cross-platform measurement system in the United States. The project, backed by some of the major US broadcasters such as CBS, Fox and NBC, and major advertising agencies such as Carat and Publicis, is in its “Phase 2” Pilot test.

“SMPTE has approved the launch of a drafting room,” announced Clarke, a big step towards universal acceptance. But BluePrint is still about a year away from hitting the market.

As Denise Turner, chief insight officer at Havas Media Group in the UK, indicated: “This is evolution, not a revolution.”

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