BARC India recently announced its tie up with Twitter to make the weekly television ratings available on the social media. Viewers can access the ratings by tweeting ‘#BARCTweet’. This system of delivery of ratings is the first-of-a-kind in the world.
People seeking information can tweet the hashtag asking for the top channels in difference genres and can expect a response from @BARCIndia within two minutes. Earlier, the top line television data was made available on the website of BARC India but now, this will enable anyone to get the data almost instantly.
Who will benefit from this tie-up and what will the impact be on the broadcast industry?
The media planners we spoke to say that the availability of BARC ratings on Twitter will help people who may be interested in or may be associated with the broadcast industry and will offer ease of access to such information.
Dinesh Vyas, GM, OMD says that this move of BARC is a way for them show that they are more transparent than the previous ratings system. He further added that he does not know how much it will impact broadcasters or media planners because they already get the ratings.
Similarly, another media planner said this was something mainly aimed for the audience who are associated with broadcasters in some form or the other and do not have access to information as they are not subscribers. “Media planners as well as broadcasters have access to much more information and hence isn’t of much use,” he said.
Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, WATConsult said, “It is an interesting value addition especially for young marketers who are looking to get every bit of information to gain an edge for their brands. For digital agencies it will help in pitches by knowing information about the current standings of the channels and what shows are working and what are not”. He further said that it might affect some TV channels to have their ratings out on Twitter in the initial stage, but after some time it will normalize and be treated as any other data available.
Suveer Bajaj, Co-founder & Director - Media Operations, FoxyMoron remarked, “From a digital point of view, it's a unique initiative that will make television viewership data accessible to common people. It will benefit TV programmers, producers, actors, etc. who keenly follow television ratings and would like to access it on-the-go. The fact that it’s coming directly from BARC will add authenticity to it. The data is anyway available to public through news media and can be published on any social media platform by anyone so I don’t think this initiative alone will have any major impact on the channels. In fact, by making data directly accessible to consumers, it will challenge channels and content producers to create top quality content to stay on top of the game.”
Chetan Asher, Founder & CEO, Tonic Media said, “It is interesting because ratings were only accessed by the trade but what BARC and Twitter are trying to do is open up topline data to even general consumers. And I think it is probably in the direction of having some kind of simple ratings for the shows that a viewer can see. How you probably would see an IMDB score, it probably seems like something in that direction. It’s bad in a sense as if your content is good and your ratings are bad it might influence viewers and it’s good as if you have not sampled any content if you look at this data or query it on the BARC hashtag maybe you might sample it. It will have its pros and cons but will have to be seen what kind of data is released by them and whether it can influence them. Right now we know it is only topline data.”
Mihir Karkare, Co-founder & VP at Social Wavelength said, “Generally whenever any information which was hard to elicit becomes easier it definitely benefits consumers. I am not sure how many consumers want this information or if it is relevant to consumers but a lot is about industry people getting this information. But basically it benefits everybody who is not trying to hide something. I am not sure about the benefits for consumers but from the industry perspective, if this makes information more accessible then it is definitely going to benefit all stakeholders who don’t have anything to hide.”