The British Audience Research Board (BARB) has finally changed the way it puts together its familiar audience figures to reflect the huge changes in the way consumers watch television.

The old way of coming up with the ratings – which were based on a sample of people using special TV viewing equipment had come under fire for several reasons, several of which were about not dealing with the major changes in TV.

Those changes include the increased use of PVRs like Sky+ and V+, the use of PCs to view content and the rise of the games console as a media provider.

BARB-ed comment

But BARB has now responded by overhauling its methods and signing up 11,500 viewers in 5,100 homes to represent the UK population.

Bjarne Thelin, Chief Executive of BARB, said the new service will launch on 1 January 2010. He said: "Much of the new system is similar in concept to the current one, but there are important changes.

"While BARB 2010 won't be a radically different service at the outset, flexibility for the future has been created by changes in structure and methodology."

Unfortunately even with the new methods BARB will never get to to the bottom of just why Coronation Street is so darn popular.

Via WotSat