Walmsley Finally Takes the BARB Hotseat

18 September 2002

Former wunderkind Nigel Walmsley, in 1977 the Post Office’s first - and youngest ever - marketing director, has finally assumed the role of chairman at BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board), nearly six weeks after his appointment was announced in controversial circumstances [WAMN: 09-Aug-02].

Between these two appointments Walmsley served as managing director of Capital Radio (1982–1991) where he played a leading role in establishing the RAJAR radio research system; and in 1991 became ceo of Carlton Television, leading its successful application for the London ITV franchise.

He was appointed chairman of GMTV and a Carlton main board director in 1994, stepping down from both posts on 31 December 2001, although he continues to act as a non-executive adviser to Carlton on industry and regulatory developments and holds a raft of non-executive board positions. Those close to the scene believe his appointment was engineered by the ITV bloc on BARB’s board

Says Walmsley: “I am looking forward to this role. Accurate and comprehensive TV ratings have never been more important. BARB has served the industry – programme makers, broadcasters, advertisers and ad agencies – over many years. As chairman I want to work closely with the board of BARB, its management and subscribers to ensure its continued effectiveness.”

A number of BARB’s more critical subscribers, however, would question Walmsley’s contention that the ratings service has been ‘continuously effective’ - especially since January 1 of this year when major operational changes left its panel system significantly below strength (as it still is), casting doubt on the validity of its data.

The BARB press release also paid ritual tribute – richly deserved many outsiders believe – to its ousted chairman Nick Phillips, a former director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Data sourced from: BARB; additional content by WARC staff