BARC India announced yesterday that they will be releasing individual ratings data from the following week, which is week 21 (May 23 – 29, 2015). This comes after a month since the first release of data from BARC which was only household data. The data was from 12,000 households from all India cities and towns with a population of more than 100,000. It also included states such as Jammu Kashmir, North East and Goa which were earlier never measured. The individual data will now be released every Thursday instead of Wednesday.
With the release of only household data by BARC there were many challenges that were experienced earlier by the key stakeholders in the industry i.e. broadcasters, media planners and marketers. While household data gives out data just gives out the number of households watching a particular channel at a particular time, individual data is known to give much richer insights as it segregates the audience via age, sex, location and various other demographic introduced by BARC like ownership of certain durables like washing machine, air conditioner, etc. This gives much richer information to marketers and media planners strategising a plan for their advertising campaign.
“It is difficult you to plan at a household level even though it is giving you trends but if you want to target a specific audience set then individual data is needed,” said Nikhil Gandhi, VP – Revenues, Disney India Media Networks. He added, “For example if you are mapping or targeting a particular audience set then it is critical to understand if you are spending an X amount of money for that show how many people have tuned in and watched that show. That will be something that only individual data will be able to make clear.”
While household data gives a basic idea about the trends in viewership, brands as well as media planners had to depend on historic data of TAM in order to plan their spends on television for almost a month. Many marketers also had to depend on internal data or online trends data to plan out their television spends.
Naveen Kukreja, CMO, PolicyBazaar.com said they were planning with the internal data that they had and were not depending on BARC data (when only household data was made available). He said they were running a campaign at that time and this was done through data on viewership trends that they have done internally and also some of the historic data available.
According to Rohit Gupta, President, MSM, “Individual data was that the industry was waiting for anyway. Without it you cannot do any media planning. Household data just gives you a broad understanding of the trends. So it was expected that individual data would come out soon.”
Similarly Gandhi says, “For channels which are targeting stark demographics and even for advertisers targeting a particular target audience, it is important to know what the performance of every channel is or what are the data points in their specific target groups. Having said that the first four weeks of data that has come out has been indicative at a household level. It will be interesting to see how the data maps out at a particular audience level and the important thing is it has come out far sooner than we anticipated it to be.”
Another broadcaster on the condition of anonymity said that they have been waiting for a long time for BARC to send the individual data as there had been delays. But once the individual data is released there will be a stabilisation of the ratings and more differences than the TAM data will be revealed.
There have been reports earlier regarding certain subscribers being unsatisfied as there was little or no difference between the TAM ratings and BARC ratings (when the household ratings were first released). This gave rise to the question of was there the need for spending on the new TV broadcast ratings agency. However, there were many others that felt the new ratings system needed more time before things settled and inferences could be made regarding its effectiveness.