BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) will next week celebrate the 25th anniversary of TV audience reporting in the UK.

Founded in 1981 as an independent entity by the BBC and the several so-called 'independent' [of the BBC] commercial ITV companies, BARB produced industry-standard television audience data as opposed to the separate viewing estimates each of the broadcasters had previously issued.

Since 1981 BARB, now a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, has seen its reporting coverage extend from three channels to 227.

Its Future Into View consultation, the development of scenario projections, and the launch of an exploratory programme regarding potential new measurement techniques have all contributed to forward thinking about the way the UK's audience measurement process may need to develop.

Next week BARB will announce the first stage in its formal process for awarding new research contracts from 2010.

Data sourced from BARB (UK); additional content by WARC staff