The TV viewing habits of UK consumers are now being measured across TV sets, tablets, PCs and smartphones, under a new monitoring system launched by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB).

The latest iteration of Project Dovetail reveals the number of people watching programmes across all four screens, allowing broadcasters to better understand the changing ways consumers now watch TV content.

Data will be published eight days after transmission, and backdated figures are available for TV shows broadcast from August 27.

“Today we reach another milestone in the delivery of Project Dovetail, which is designed to meet industry expectations for a trusted cross-platform audience currency,” said BARB Chief Executive Justin Sampson.

“Three critical ingredients enable us to extend our gold standard to cover viewing on tablets, PCs and smartphones,” he explained.

“We have representative, observational data that show how people watch on different devices. We also have an independently collected, census-level count of viewing to BVOD (broadcaster video on demand) services. And we have smart algorithms that fuel the day-to-day integration of these two high-quality, complementary data sources.”

Early data already shows that on average, across all types of TV content, viewing across tablets, PCs and smartphones adds 1.5% to viewership numbers, though there is huge variation by genre and target audience.

Some episodes of the “reality” entertainment show Love Island, for instance, registered an extra 24.4% in viewing when devices other than a traditional television set were included, and Made in Chelsea saw a 16.8% boost for one episode. Sport, traditionally watched live and often with other people, sees a much smaller uplift.

Project Dovetail, which began development in 2015, was established to understand the changing ways viewers consume television content, given the proliferation of devices on which they can tune in.

Further stages are still in development; BARB plans to later be able to show “multiple-screen reach and time spent viewing”, and “multiple-screen advertising campaign performance”. The organisation hopes to offer this in 2019.

BARB is funded by the major UK broadcasters. It does not currently measure YouTube viewing, and says it has no plans to do so.

Sourced from BARB; additional content by WARC staff