Dollar Industries, Shree Cement, CenturyPly & Radha TMT react to pause in ratings

The brands say ad rates might get hit in the absence of data

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 12:08 PM

One of the biggest news of the week was the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) deciding to suspend its weekly ratings of TV news channels for a period of three months amidst the controversy surrounding their viewership data. One of the questions that pop up is whether the development will impact the advertising sentiment in any way. The first reactions are that it’s too early to change plans drastically.
Most advertisers exchange4media spoke to said that the development might not affect advertiser sentiment in a big way and that business may continue as usual but ad rates might get affected due to the rating pause. 
Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries stated that the advertiser sentiment will not get affected by this pause. “We have got our internal teams and a strong distributor network and we get our own feedback from those distributors about the real situation on the ground and we decide our advertising basis. Moreover, we believe that the sanctity of data should be maintained. And they should ensure that correct data is flowing into the system. That credibility should be maintained by hook or by crook, otherwise, the entire system is going to collapse,” said Gupta.  
The News Broadcasters Association, which represents private news channels in the country, has also welcomed BARC's move.
Hari Mohan Bangur, MD, Shree Cement too feels that it doesn't affect the ad spend sentiment but he added that it will affect how the brand plans its ad spends here onwards. “Since the development has taken place today, we will now consult our branding teams and decide our marketing strategy accordingly,” Bangur remarked.
BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers, after which Mumbai police revealed in a press conference about the alleged fake TRP scam.
Reacting on the development Sanjay Agarwal, MD, CenturyPly opined, “There are 17 crore satellite connections while the BARC-installed barometers are at just 45,000 empanelled households which is a negligible number and so the development doesn’t make much of a difference. I don’t want to comment on who has partaken in the manipulation and who has not, but I feel that the government should come up with such a system in place that can monitor the TRP fairly.”
But not everyone is unfazed by the new development. Said an industry expert on the condition of anonymity: "For advertisers, it's bad news because they wouldn't know how to benchmark these channels and the audience that they are getting. Therefore, they will be investing blindly. Whereas for news broadcasters it's not good because they also don’t know how to value their content. Also, with all that is going on in the news industry, starting from toxicity to TRP, money will go down in news channels. Some advertisers are telling this publicly that they won’t advertise but some are doing silently."
The Mumbai Police in recent investigations had claimed that ratings for Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema were rigged.
According to Suman Saraf, MD, Radha TMT, the pause will allow brands to re-negotiate price points when it comes to advertising on TV news channels. “BARC will also be subject to greater scrutiny now onwards and overall the ad cost on news genre will witness re-adjustment when the pause gets over,” asserted Saraf.
However BARC, in its announcement said it would continue to review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting of data. “Will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language”, it said.

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