BARC just rolled out the first week of data recently and for an industry that has waited several years for a new TV ratings system, the anticipation was very high. The journey for BARC started seven years ago in 2008 and after many delays, we saw the first week of data released for week 16 (April 18 – 24, 2015). Though this was a step welcomed by the industry, the data released by BARC was only at a household level and not individual level, while the sample was of only 10,760 households for 1 lakh+ towns. So in essence the data was not complete as individual data is needed in order to give a clearer picture of TV viewing patterns. Apart from this, rural data from LC1 markets was not available and would not be expected for another six months and data from all 20,000 meters is still to be made available to BARC subscribers. exchange4media spoke to a few TV broadcasters to elicit their reactions on the BARC ratings.
A. P. Parigi, Group CEO, Network 18 said, “We should be patient and not jump to conclusions; a deeper understanding of how viewership numbers should be interpreted suggests that while one celebrates BARC’s roll out it would be prudent to wait till the system evolves”. He further added, “The journey has just begun. Lot more challenges have to be addressed before we arrive at a reliable and robust system. The growth of television as a medium will be heavily influenced by such data. It is with this view all constituents of BARC should engage in a continuous dialogue, provide constructive criticism and support the evolution of a world class measurement system.”
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL & Chairman of BARC India said, “BARC India is committed to build a world class television audience measurement system. With an aim to bring in utmost transparency within the ecosystem, BARC India will certainly be the best solution to report what the nation is actually watching. With the implementation of BARC, the ecosystem has certainly turned absolutely transparent. BARC will certainly be the best solution to report what the nation is actually watching.”
MK Anand, MD and CEO at Times Network said, “We are happy that the new measurement system is finally in place. We look forward to reaping the benefits of this evolved system to the maximum. BARC is technologically advanced and is larger than the erstwhile base of meters by almost two-and-a-half times. An extended viewer base will certainly help bring in more consumers into the analysed set and improve our services to them and thus generate more value.”
Swati Mohan, Business Head, National Geographic & Fox International Channels India said, “We are delighted to have a rating system that ensures greater transparency and accuracy with BARC. Apart from the user friendly software, which will save a lot of time in data reporting, the technology allows for measurements in manner that will help provide deeper insights into the ever changing content needs and habits of viewers."
Vivek Srivastava , Senior Vice President & Head – English Entertainment Cluster, Times Network said, “The first week BARC numbers are in sync with our expectations. Both our brands MOVIES NOW and Romedy NOW have been consistent leaders in their respective genres on TAM and we continue to lead the pack on BARC as well.”
R K Arora, CEO, News Nation Network said, “It is too early to comment on BARC ratings based on one week data. I think we shall only be able to comment post 4 weeks upon studying the BARC data. As far as expectations are concerned, there wasn't much difference in pecking order. Since, watermarking of few channels is still pending. the realistic numbers will come post that process.”
However, not everyone was completely satisfied about the first data rolled out by BARC. One TV broadcaster requesting anonymity said that the first data unveiled by BARC was inadequate as it did not have individual data. “Without individual data you do not get a clear idea about viewership patterns. Household data is of not much use and does not reveal much,” he said.