BARB HAS BECOME TOO POWERFUL AND MUST BE CHANGED OR REGULATED!

By | 12 July 2022

First created over 40 years ago by ATV, BARB Protem Limited was incorporated as a ‘non-profit’ company limited by Guarantee in 1998, changing it’s name to ‘Broadcasters Audience Research Board Limited’ in August 1999. The company currently has 6 guarantors; BBC, ITV, Ch. 4, Ch. 5, Sky and The Institute Of Practitioners In Advertising (IPA). Until December 2021, UKTV (wholly owned by BBC Studios) was also a guarantor). The guarantee given by each guarantor is £1 – ONE GREAT BRITISH POUND. Gaining any information from these people is an incredibly difficult process. The CEO (in name only) Justin Sampson appears to be little more than a public face and issues periodical news letters spewing jargon filled nonsense. If your questions become too complicated or far reaching you will get a curt response from a Nigel McLaughlan (currently the company secretary). But don’t get too used to these faces, they change officers more frequently than some people change their underwear.

When asked about the rate card, and whether or not everyone paid according to its terms, Mr Sampson replied “Yes! Everyone pays according to the rate card.” But when asked why their published accounts showed a comparatively low turnover he stammered and fumbled and said “Ah, well you see, the big 5 guarantee our debt”. That was later amended by McLaughlan saying that the big 5 had separate “arrangements”. When pressed further he, quite angrily, pointed out that they were a limited company and were, therefore, required to report all financial arrangements to companies house. So we searched all 10 pages of their returns to Companies House going back to the incorporation in 1998. The only reference to ‘guarantees’ is in the companies Memorandum and Articles of Association along with the register of members (which is very difficult to locate). All the evidence points to the big 5 receiving BARB services free of charge in return for promising to contribute £1 should the company go bust!! The whole set up of this organisation smells to high heaven! With 281 clients (as of July 2022) if everyone paid an average of the lowest 3 bands – 0.05% to 0.24% share of viewers – BARB turnover would almost £64 million, nearly 3 times more than they declare annually. Something is very, very wrong here.

Using technology that is over 70 years old, this organisation, under the complete control of the big 5 broadcasters, has a stranglehold on the survival of smaller, independent channels. With television broadcast infrastructure also controlled by it’s guarantors, they do have the ability to freeze out and/or shut down any competition. It is my view that they have become an ‘accidental cartel’. They may not have deliberately set out to be so powerful, but they have anyway, and it’s time to level the playing field.

Although several, very popular channels have already been lost, they are with us in our campaign to bring BARB and the UK TV industry to account and create a fairer and equitable standard that not only allows fair competition, but actually promotes it!

8 thoughts on “BARB HAS BECOME TOO POWERFUL AND MUST BE CHANGED OR REGULATED!

  1. Carl Waring

    Just like any other survey company, BARB uses the standard mathematical practice of ‘statistical analysis’. Just because you don’t understand how something works does not make it wrong or ‘not fit for purpose’.

    If your station has no viewers then that is YOUR fault, no-one else’s.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Unfortunately, BARB openly admits that they cannot accurately report the figures of ‘niche’ channels such as ours. We have been on air for almost 7 years, we have our own methods of discovering viewership, BARB is grossly inaccurate. We understand, VERY WELL, how the 70 year old system works thank you, and it is, categorically, not fit for purpose.

      Reply
      1. Carl Waring

        No. BARB is *STATISTICALLY* accurate where possible. Okay. Maybe, as you say, not for smaller channels such as yours. But that’s nothing against you and does not make it “not fit for purpose” for the majority of the channels that use it. (ie 99% of them.)

        Reply
        1. Carl Waring

          Plus, I still don’t understand how BARB not being able to tell you how many viewers you do or don’t have means it is their fault you have to close the channel. That makes NO sense whatsoever.

          You have already stated that you have your own methods so you don’t need BARB anyway.

          Looks, to me, like you’re just looking for someone else to blame for your own failure.

          Reply
  2. Glenn Rogers

    You’re a bit of a plank aren’t you. As you clearly have no clue how commercial broadcasting works, you’re probably best off sticking to playing video games or whatever it is that floats your boat. Leave the serious stuff to the grown ups.

    Reply
    1. Carl Waring

      And you obviously have a problem with anyone who disagrees with you. Says more about you than it does, to be honest.

      I don’t need to know how commercial broadcasting works to know that the only person to blame for a station not getting enough viewers is the person in charge of getting the station viewers; and that’s not BARB.

      Reply
  3. admin Post author

    If this site had a problem with people who disagree they wouldn’t give a platform to people like you. I have followed your petty little vendetta against this channel and can see that your opinion is clearly formed from jealousy. A sad, hospital radio, wannabe broadcaster. Harrogate isn’t it?
    You are entitled to your opinion, but it is just that – your opinion. In REAL broadcasting we have to deal in facts and the FACT is that many independent channels share the view that the organisation that controls the revenue generation for all commercial stations, which is owned and run by the big 5 and the advertising agencies institute, is no longer fit for purpose. Doubly so as the technology they use is over 70 years old.
    Feel free to continue with your pointless drivel from behind your keyboard, you are only making yourself look more stupid than you probably are.

    Reply
  4. Carl Waring

    Yes. Just blame others for your own failure. That always works. The only person who can get more viewers for your channel is YOU. BARB has nothing to do with it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.