English News channels pulling out of the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) is reminiscent of the 2013 standoff between TAM Media Research and the broadcasters. Multiple broadcasters had pulled out of TAM over concerns of fluctuations in ratings from LC 1 towns. Broadcasters had cast aspersions on the credibility of TAM data and even suspected corruption.
As the events unfolded four years ago, the TV audience measurement agency had offered to shift the people meters to other cities if broadcasters insisted. It is worth recalling that in 2013, advertisers and ad agencies were in complete support of TAM and companies even threatened to withdraw advertising if broadcasters did not provide weekly ratings data for their programmes. Back then, ad agencies had stressed on an early resolution to the issue and maintained that TAM should be around until BARC came into play.
According to media report, eight advertisers, including Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter and Gamble India, Marico Ltd, Dabur India Ltd, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd and L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd, sent letters to broadcasters, asking them to revert to the earlier weekly rating system or consider all advertising stopped within 72 hours of receiving the letter.
Exchange4media had reported in 2013 that 20 top advertisers had collectively decided not to subscribe to any alternative broadcaster-driven ratings system in case the networks decided to unsubscribe from TAM or force TAM to accede to their demands. The advertisers also decided to explore ways to create a funding model for an alternate, advertiser-driven ratings system in case the broadcasters were to take a final decision to stay out of the TAM system. Advertisers had expressed concern over TAM’s dependence on channels for its revenues and wanted to have a say in the way out of the current impasse.
They need to have objective data at least on a weekly basis to make the right decisions on advertising spends, the advertisers had stressed.
Following the standoff, TAM had said that ratings would be shared on a monthly basis for seven major networks, which included STAR India, ZEE, MSM, Viacom18, Network18, NDTV, Times Television Network and BAG Films. In addition to monthly ratings, TAM also decided to move to the CPT (Cost Per Thousand) format for reporting the ratings. This move finally resolved the impasse between the broadcasters and TAM.