And the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is back once again. The company, which has been through various ebbs and flows since its first conversation in 2006-07, has now been able to decide on a final structure that industry stakeholders – Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) & Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) – have agreed on.
In the new agreement, IBF will hold 60 per cent share in BARC, the ISA will hold 20 per cent share, and the AAAI, which was not part of BARC in its most recent avatar, will hold the remaining 20 per cent.
BARC is expected to be operational by July 2012 in terms of appointing its board and technical committee. The company will then begin work on forming a team including the secretariat that would allow it to begin issuing request for proposals (RFPs) for the television industry’s broadcast audience measurement requisites.
STAR CJ’s CEO Paritosh Joshi, speaking on behalf of IBF’s BARC Committee, said, “BARC is a joint industry body that represents industry stakeholders’ interest. This body will issue RFPs and vendors will respond. BARC’s technical committee would evaluate RFPs and then award the contract to any agency that would be able to provide that solution. It will be a true client-vendor relationship, where the client would have the ability to oversee what is going on and demand performance and a certain quality in output.”
TAM Media Research, given its experience and expertise in television measurement, would have an advantage but by this process, BARC would make it possible for research agencies other than TAM also to be part of television measurement system in India.
"Advertisers are always looking for transparent and robust research and in-depth insights in the rapidly changing television viewership landscape. The ISA is pleased to be part of the joint industry body, BARC, which is a major step in this direction,” said Bharat Patel, Chairman, The Indian Society of Advertisers.
For the last two years, BARC comprised IBF and ISA, and the absence of AAAI was one of the reasons why BARC was not becoming operational and meeting requisites such as setting up the high-power committee and technical committee that were proposed in the Dr Amit Mitra-chaired MIB TRP Committee in January 2011. It was suggested that the representatives of the committee would be eminent members from different fields.
According to the MIB TRP report, the composition of the high-powered committee should include a statistician of national repute, measurement technology expert, a renowned individual from Civil Society or Judiciary, a demographer, a sociologist, an economist, a business management expert from one of the IIMs, nominee of an eminent institution, a leading woman of national stature and three special invitees from BARC.
BARC missed the June 2011 deadline to form this committee and the fact that it had no announcements on its progress had caused concern for the MIB.
Now, BARC has already worked out a high-level committee that is acceptable to the MIB. Even though many decisions taken by BARC in the last few months would come up to discussion in front of the new board that would now comprise six members of IBF and two each from ISA and AAAI, the move is seen as a step forward for BARC.
“AAAI has always believed in the best practices that can drive value for all the stakeholders and the users of television medium. A scientific and rational research methodology is the central thought behind BARC and AAAI is happy to partner with IBF and ISA in this endeavour,” said Nagesh Alai, President, Advertising Agencies Association of India.
One of the biggest decisions for this board would be setting up the time table that would eventually give the industry its “next generation ratings system”.