BARC move on Free & Pay channel viewership to help advertisers plan better: Experts

Industry analysts also tell exchange4media that the separate viewership data must stabilise before it becomes dependable

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 7:46 AM

Week 27 has been quite a landmark week for both broadcasters and advertisers. With BARC India having decided to report viewership from Free and Pay platforms separately, it is apparently going to be a fair shuffle in revenue channels for broadcasters. Advertisers, according to experts, are going to be most benefitted from this move.  

“The move by BARC India removes a layer from the data that changes the whole picture around viewership,” said a highly placed source in a top broadcasting company.

“The move gives the advertiser the advantage of judgment and also helps them understand the degree of affluence of an end user. This is the only authorised way to understand the true nature of the market. Overall viewership always has the scope of misleading the advertiser. Now, advertisers will be able to target their audience better by planning better,” he said.

When asked whether the move, which looks beneficial for advertisers, will help broadcasters too in any way, he said, “Whatever is good for advertisers is also good for broadcasters. The broadcasters’ business is completely dependent on advertisers, so any move befitting the advertisers in the long run will benefit broadcasters too. Also, there is no reason to believe that in accordance with the new data a revenue channel will close for a certain channel because advertisers would know that the reach of the viewership from a free platform is huge. There might be a new model that would open up to cater to broadcasters who at the present might look like they are on the losing end for the time being with BARC’s move to report viewership from paid and free platforms separately.”

However, broadcasters also want to wait before coming to any conclusion on the impact of the move. Vivek Srivastava, President - Strategy, Times Network, said: “It's too early to comment as we just have a week of data. But the move is welcome, it aids both broadcasters and advertisers to better channelise their resources. Advertisers need audiences who can spend and there is no point paying for audiences who are on the free platform and don't have the propensity to consume.”

But there is no debate on the fact that advertisers will now be able to plan their spends in media better. “Advertisers wanting Premium audiences, typically News and English, can now better optimise the price they pay to different platforms and not waste marketing monies on non-premium audience from Free platforms. Consequently, broadcasters will also stop over relying on one platform just to get the numbers and thus premium content will get its due,” Srivastava said.

According to media experts, it is important for the data to stabilise before it becomes dependable.

“It is always good to get separate data as it clarifies the viewership patterns of FTA and pay channels. More granular the data, better will be the understanding of the channel’s reach and viewership. It will hence help fine tune media plans for better reach and efficiency,” said media expert Anita Nayyar.

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