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EKAM is top on our agenda: Nakul Chopra, Chairman, BARC India

18-December-2017
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EKAM is top on our agenda: Nakul Chopra, Chairman, BARC India

Nakul Chopra was recently appointed as the Chairman of TV measurement body Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. He is an advertising veteran who has been associated with the Publicis group since 1996. Chopra, former CEO, South Asia, and senior advisor of Publicis Communication and AAAI president, is the first person from the advertising fraternity who has been elected for this role. Earlier, the role was chaired by Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO of Viacom 18 and Punit Goenka, MD and CEO of ZEEL. An economics graduate, he also worked as the executive vice-president at the advertising and marketing agency Grey Worldwide. In an exclusive conversation with Exchange4media, Chopra talks about his new role and challenges.

Excerpts:

What does your role at BARC as chairman entail?

BARC has an excellent team very ably led by Partho Dasgupta. My two predecessors have both set very high standards with the vision, leadership and support that they provided to this team. My job is hence clearly cut out – to support and guide Team BARC as we seek to consolidate the TV business and introduce Digital Measurement in the year ahead. As television viewership continues to grow, we are keen to see BARC emerge as a data + insights company and I look forward to contributing to that process.

You have chaired many industry bodies. What motivates you to take these honorary roles?

I am a product of this industry and I need no motivation to promote its interest in any manner that I can. Whether as Chairman Goafest, as President AAAI or now Chairman of BARC – it is a privilege and honour to be able to contribute to our industry.

You will be the first non-broadcaster to chair BARC. Do you believe the other two pillars of BARC were so far, under represented? What is it that your agency folks would be expecting from you?

BARC was set up as a JIB, and with a reason. It is truly of the industry, by the industry and for the industry. My stint as Chairman is further proof of that. Representation of stakeholder bodies ensures all interests are considered and taken into account for key decision making. When we sit at the BARC board, I don’t think we see ourselves merely as proponents of a particular point of view. Rather, we collectively look at what is best for the industry as a whole. Every Member of the BARC Board must, to an extent, also represent the interests of the particular body they speak for on the Board – and I have done the same over the past year and will continue to do so. But as Chairman, my primary focus will always be the equitable alignment of views.

What is your plan for 2018? What will be the key focus areas for you going forward?

Rolling out EKAM, our Digital Measurement products is top on our agenda. Industry needs, and is seeking, independent third party digital measurement that will provide a genuine count of video ads and content viewership. Like in TV, we hope to match up to the expectations that industry has on digital measurement. Return Path Data (RPD) is another focus area. One major distribution platform has already signed up and in the months ahead, we will have some more news on this front for you. We also seek government and regulator’s support in helping us build a more robust viewership measurement system.

What is your biggest challenge as a Chairman?

The broadcast sector in India is one of the most dynamic market sector. The TV viewing universe in growing and changing character every year, choice of content in terms of number of TV channels continues to grow, TV viewership is rising and also getting fragmented at the same time. Now to top it, we have digital viewing taking root and starting to flourish. Meeting industry’s measurement needs, to target the right consumer, in such a dynamic atmosphere, is a challenge. One that Partho, Team BARC and I look forward to.

EKAM is already one of the most awaited launches. How do you see the roll out unfolding?

Like I said, industry is eagerly awaiting EKAM. It has taken some time to get everybody on the same page, and that was indeed very important. We are an industry body and we need to have all stakeholders aligned on key objectives, especially when we are talking about something as significant as digital measurement.

We have successfully run roadshows across three cities, had series of engagements with representatives from all sectors of industry and the feedback we have got has helped us shape what we believe the Industry wants: a robust, accurate and transparent digital measurement.

We are on course to roll out our first products, starting second half of next year. You will hear from us when we are closer to date of launch.

The two biggest road blocks are Google and Facebook. How do you plan to get them on board? Do you think the media agencies should now start putting pressure?

I do not believe that is a fair characterisation of them. Both are part of our Digital Tech Comm, by virtue of which they are not only aware of and party to all decisions taken with regard to Digital Measurement, but have also actively contributed to the progress and development of the various EKAM products.

What is your take on CPRP vs CPM model?

BARC’s focus is measurement and providing industry with reliable and legitimate currency to trade inventory. Your question pertains to the mode of trading (CPRP vs CPT) – this is not an issue in the purview of BARC and I would not like to weigh in on it in this context.

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