Nine months into 2002 and the BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) audience measurement panel is still at only 80 per cent of its planned strength of 5,100 UK homes – or so allege informed sources from within the ad industry.

And despite the reported ousting of BARB executive chairman Nick Phillips during his absence on holiday [WAMN: 09-Aug-02] – a report that was never denied – it emerged last week that Phillips remains formally in situ, albeit still on extended holiday leave.

BARB chief executive Caroline McDevitt told Media Week: “Nick Phillips is still chairman of BARB. At the last board meeting, he received full support and backing from all shareholders. The next board meeting is due to take place at the end of this month.”

McDevitt was unable to name a firm date for bringing the panel up to strength, nor was she able to say when full audience data would become available.

BARB shareholders comprise the BBC, Carlton Communications, Granada Media, Channel 4, Channel 5, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. The BBC and ITV each appoint two directors to BARB’s board, giving them four of the eight available votes and it believed that the ITV pair – the broadcasters most adversely affected by the incomplete BARB data – have been the most vocal in demanding Phillips’ head.

Meanwhile, Phillip’s reported successor Nigel Walmsley has been conspicuous by his absence in the environs of BARB.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff