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News channels pulling out of BARC unhealthy for the industry: Experts

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News channels pulling out of BARC unhealthy for the industry: Experts

Several English news channels pulled out of BARC yesterday following the release of Republic TV data after BARC ignored NBA’s plea to delay the release. The point that needs to be looked at here is that there have been issues in the past as well of multiple feeds, which is the reason why BARC was asked by NBA to withhold Republic TV data. It seems interesting that channels are now using this as a reason to ask BARC to withhold ratings and subsequently pull out of BARC.

Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India, said, "I don't understand what the issue is all of sudden, this practice of multiple feeds is not new, I am not commenting on the right or wrong of it but even while we speak some channels are still running multiple feeds."

Commenting on the development, a leading media agency head said, “This seems like a classic case of shooting the messenger, it seems ironic that in times when clients are talking of optimising RoI and everything around is based on metrics, the channels chose to pull out of an industry body providing the metric. Eventually advertisers and media agencies need a currency for measurement without which it is not feasible to advertise. On the lighter side, actions such as these are giving added publicity and limelight to the new player.”

“Irrespective of how channels are performing, it doesn’t seem logical to pull out of an industry ratings body which has been set up by the industry itself. If the channels believe there is an issue with a process they should try to correct that, pulling out of ratings is an unhealthy sign to my mind and unfair to both subscribers and advertisers,” said Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network.

Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer at 9X Media, said, “It’s very impulsive to pull out of BARC. The channels should wait for some time to see how viewership patterns pan out in the next three-four weeks and whether Republic TV can sustain that viewership. I don’t think there’s harm in taking multiple frequencies. There’s no TRAI ruling that you can’t buy multiple frequencies. People have done it in the past. This is more of a marketing tool of what channels do. Also two frequencies don’t mean that other channels are not available. If they are so finicky about BARC numbers then it’s very sad.”

Another head of a leading media agency said, “News channels were anyway bought more on the basis of affinity to the TG than viewership. Therefore, this development should not affect advertisers much but selection within the channels could become difficult. Without BARC rating, gut or clients' perception would now play a major role in making advertising decisions.”

A leading media planner also echoed similar sentiments as he added, “Advertising investment depends on ratings. Without the ratings, we will be a bit blind to decide how much to invest where. The news channels will be the ones who will lose out if they pull out of BARC.”

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