BARC India held a meeting yesterday to work around issues that have come up over the period of time.
At the meeting of stakeholders, which was held in Mumbai, the agency proposed to create a separate panel for reporting ratings data for niche channels, including news channels, while also discussing possible changes in the town-classes, NCCS and age groups which are being currently reported. The former change, said sources, was not well-received by most attendees.
MK Anand, CEO and MD of Times Network who was present at the meeting mentioned about the proposal, “The proposal for niche channels to be presented separately and through different software would distort the playing field and will severely impact niche broadcasters. We believe niche is the nursery of broadcasting and this is where future big channels are reared. What’s niche today will become mass tomorrow. Adverse impact on this sector will be bad for the industry. Putting a set of channels in a different measurement database is like telling a few retail outlets to move out of the main mall. While we know that the intent is good, this particular move will be counterproductive.”
He added that the same software (which is used for weekly reporting) can’t be used for monthly reporting; the reason for BARC’s suggestion of a separate software. As indicated, it didn’t find favour amongst the broadcasters which was noted by BARC India. “This feedback from niche broadcasters was unanimous and was positively received by the BARC team,”Anand points out.
Another TV channel head, who chose to remain anonymous, told us that BARC had decided to drop the proposal on panel for niche channels. Speaking about the NCCS classification, another senior TV executive told us, “Broadcasters want tweaking of the NCCS classification. For example, if you see SEC A, what has been classified as NCCS A, certain channels will always have a higher viewership than any other channel. In this country there are rich people who don’t watch English news. But in your and my mind, SEC A or NCCS A is like somebody who is at the high-end of the society. That high-end is nowhere getting reflected. For example, in readership survey, there is a product-link data which suggests people who go to a spa, who own Mercedes Benz and travel abroad. In television there is nothing like that. So I think BARC is trying to do all that. There is no dispute on what to do but on how to do it. I think that is what they are trying to resolve. They will go into the new system in January. And there is no dispute as such.”
“BARC India is a joint industry company and we have always believed in taking feedback from the stakeholders before bringing any change in the system. We are happy with the turnout and the feedback we have received from the stakeholders in the two sessions we held in the city,” said Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India.
In the official press statement issued by BARC India post the meeting, it was mentioned that the TV ratings agency is now looking at bringing in some changes in India’s TV viewership measurement system. The focus of the meeting, the statement said, was to discuss the current state of TV viewership measurement in the country and devise ways to bring it at par with global standards.
“BARC India also suggested ways for optimizing reporting segments to increase robustness in reporting. This would mean bringing changes in the town-classes, NCCS and age groups which are being currently reported. BARC India also put forth an option to report Pay TV HH universe and Free TV HH universe separately. BARC India also proposed a new reporting framework for targeted/low viewership channels. BARC India also proposed a new reporting framework for targeted/low viewership channels,” the statement read.