Network18 has said that they are pleased that the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has released the first set of data. They have called for celebrating the emergence of a completely home-grown audience measurement system.
AP Parigi, Group CEO, Network 18 said, “The first week’s data shows CNBC TV18 as the #1 English business channel, CNBC Awaaz as the #1 Hindi business channel and CNN IBN as the #2 English news channel and IBN 7 as the #6 Hindi News Channel. Colors is #1 Hindi General Entertainment Channel in the prime time slot (7 pm to 11:30 pm). 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.”
According to a Network 18 statement, a stable and reliable BARC measurement system will help marketers make more informed allocations on their investments in TV channels, which together account for almost 40 percent of the total advertising expenditure in India.
The statement further says that in a country as large as India, measurement has always been a daunting task. The Indian Readership Survey, with a 2,35,000 sample, is still struggling to deal with challenges that surface from time-to-time. Some experts believe that even sample sizes running into many more lacs may still be insufficient for reliable measurement. As constituents of BARC, Network 18 said that there is a need to support BARC with suggestions and feedback.
The data is for just one week and it is better to wait for a data trend or data curve to emerge. This is even more critical for niche genres such as news as the volatility is likely to be greater vis-à-vis mass genres such as Hindi general entertainment. The familiarisation process of the new systems at the household level is very much in its infancy, which can lead to outlier behaviour that has plagued measurement systems in the past as well. BARC is addressing such issues: if they go unnoticed, they could well impair the robustness of the measurement system, according to the statement.
Further it says all the elements that go into the measurement of TV audiences by BARC need to stabilise and be understood by all the stakeholders. It needs to be stressed that the data released is only at the Household level. Data at individual levels will be available only after a few months. As of today, the sample is only 10,760 households and is scheduled to ramp up to 20,000 households in due course. Currently, the data is available only for over one lakh towns. Data for the rest of urban and rural India will be available over the next six months. Since rural viewership habits have never been measured by any entity in the past, the inclusion of this data could throw up new conclusions in many genres. The NCCS system will also need to evolve with fast changing consumer durable ownership; BARC will have to keep pace with it.
Parigi further said, “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.”