LONDON: BARB, the UK provider of TV viewing figures, is claiming a global first in its reporting of time-shift data that reveal how TV viewing builds in the four weeks following broadcast.

The organisation already offers seven-day consolidated viewing figures which represent over 98% of all viewing, but the new data, which takes account of the following 8-28 days, revealed an additional 1.5% in total viewing during July.

Further analysis indicated that time-shifted viewing of 8-28 days was most prevalent within ABC1 households and among 25-44 year old adults.

Some programming, such as news and sport, saw little or no increase, but BARB noted that other programmes had seen an increase of as much as 15% in total audience. These were likely to be for drama, film and children's programming.

BARB said the new figures would help commissioners, schedulers and media planners to examine how different demographics behave and how time-shifting affected different channels and programme genres.

Gill Whitehead, Director of Audience Technologies and Insight at Channel 4, welcomed the move, saying: "This dataset is great progress towards really being able to understand how and when our viewers want to consume our programming."

"Longer term it will help us ensure that we can continue to provide advertisers with the most efficient and effective ways of reaching their customers," she added.

Media strategist David Brennan, writing in the latest issue of Market Leader, argued that "there is a fairly fixed ceiling in how far away from the schedules most people are prepared to stray" and noted the availability of on-demand catch-up helped keep viewers loyal to a series.

He observed that, on average, owners of personal video recorders (PVRs) watched around a third of time-shifted commercials at normal speed, often because they forget they are watching in time shift mode. And even if they were fast forwarding they were likely to stop to watch a particularly entertaining or relevant commercial.

His remarks were borne out by recent research from New Zealand which indicated that time-shift viewing could actually increase exposure to ads, as people who owned PVRs watched more TV programming and frequently watched the ads within a recorded programme.

Data sourced from BARB, Market Leader; additional content by Warc staff