After the day-long drama over television channels pulling out of BARC, the industry body has issued a statement defending its data:
“BARC India was set up with the mandate to measure What India Watches, and our measurement system delivers exactly that.
We have a transparent policy on the matter of measuring channels, (which is available on our website http://bit.ly/2dllmIp). This policy has been consistently applied to all channels who subscribe to our measurement.
The fact is that this is a common distribution strategy among various TV channels, particularly News Broadcasters, to place their channels on multiple LCNs and across genres in the past, and they continue to do so even now.
Based on information collected from various monitoring agencies, we have seen that multiple English news channels on different occasions have placed themselves on multiple LCNs viz across 64 distribution networks during rebranding/revamp, across 16 networks during budget coverage, across 12 networks during UP elections etc. It has become a usual practice.
We are clear about our position – we measure viewership of channels basis their unique Watermark ID, irrespective of the platform the channel is available on or the number of instances within the platform. For channels having the same watermark on more than one LCN, viewership gets aggregated and reported as a single channel and not multiple channels. BARC India neither monitors channel placements across the various DTH platforms/cable head-ends in the country, nor does it have the mandate to do so.
In the past, we have measured multiple LCN instances of channels as per our policy and reported them as one channel, and the same principle has been applied to our data released yesterday. BARC India is not the regulatory body for resolving issues concerning multiplicity of LCNs for a channel.
Ideally these issues should be sorted among broadcasters themselves rather than dragging BARC India into these.
BARC India will continue to measure what India watches."