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Audience measurement

S4C's audience is measured by BARB [Broadcasters' Audience Research Board], which also measures all TV audiences throughout Britain. In January 2010 a brand new television measurement system was launched, when new panel members were selected. The last time this happened was in 2002.

There are 500 homes in Wales on BARB's measurement panel, with 250 of these consisting of at least one Welsh speaker. Viewing patterns are measured by placing a meter in each of the homes, which automatically calculates which channel is being viewed, as well as who is viewing, by asking each family member to press a personalised button on a special handset when he or she is watching.

Each home on the panel is carefully selected by BARB, ensuring that they are representative of the type of home, individual, TV reception and facilities within the home, for example, video, PVR (personal video recorder, e.g. Freeview+, Sky+) or ownership of more than one television.

There are over 425 Welsh speakers on the measurement panel, and with BARB estimating approximately 640,000 Welsh speakers (Aged 4+) in Wales, on balance, this means that one Welsh speaker represents around 1,000 people in Wales . This compares favourably to the sample throughout Britain, with 5,100 homes and 12,500 individuals on the overall panel, with one individual on the British panel representing around 4,500 people.

Overnight viewing figures arrive at S4C the following morning, with final viewing figures arriving over the next 28 days. Generally, consolidated figures are taken as including the subequent week.

The following data is derived from the panel:

  • Thousands of viewers: how many people in Wales were watching, including guests and recording playback up to 28 days following a programme broadcast.
  • Thousands of Welsh speaking viewers: how many Welsh speakers were watching, including guests, and recording playback up to 28 days following a programme broadcast.
  • Share amongst Welsh speakers: how many Welsh speakers were watching S4C, as a percentage of all Welsh speakers watching any of the BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, S4C, C4, five or Cable/Satellite/Freeview channels at that time (including guests and video).
  • S4C weekly reach: how many tuned into S4C for three minutes or more at some time during the week, portrayed as a percentage of the TV population.
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