BARB, the UK television audience measurement organisation, is extending its current research contracts until 2009 to develop the service in the face of changes in the television industry.

BARB now has five years to work with its contractors to develop the service, including the ability to integrate new equipment capable of measuring personal video recorders.

The BARB contracts are held by RSMB, responsible for survey methodology, Ipsos UK which is responsible for the survey, and ATR UK which is responsible for metering, data collection and processing.

BARB’s chief executive, Bjarne Thelin, said: “The current contractors and contract structure provide a sound framework within which to develop the system. This extension to 2009 allows us to work with them to plan for the television audience measurement systems of the future.”

He said that they we expect to start reporting PVR playback in the first half of 2005, and are progressing with investigations of techniques to expand the measurement of interactive services. They will continue to consult with the television and advertising industries on future needs with respect to detection techniques and methodologies.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board is a non-for-profit company jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. It provides data on television viewing based on a panel of 5,100 homes.

Sky is currently establishing its own SkyView panel of 20,000 homes that will measure usage directly through their set-top box.

“Television continually faces changes in technology, consumption and distribution,” said the BARB chief executive. “The UK is one of the world’s most advanced TV markets to measure, and BARB’s goal is to provide this world-leading UK Television market with an objective, credible, gold-standard service.”