Distribution business needed regulation: Punit Goenka on TRAI tariff order

ZEE was the first broadcaster to publish it's rate card as per the tariff order

exchange4media Staff 20-November-2018


After a three-month-long hearing, the Supreme Court last month upheld TRAI’s tariff order. ZEE was the first broadcaster to publish its rate card as per the tariff order, even before the court verdict. One of the arguments put forth by those opposing the order was that it puts a government cap on creativity and content.

Punit Goenka, MD & CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, agrees that the argument is not wrong. He believes that the “moment you start putting a price on things, it can have an impact on the economics of the business.”

“Today it doesn't have any impact on the current business model, but no regulation is there forever. Regulation adapts and changes as it goes along. So while principally I am not in favour of regulation, the current environment of the distribution business, the subscription part, needed regulation for it to become streamlined,” said Goenka.

Is there even one product in this country where pricing has been flat for 25 years or where not even inflationary growth has been seen in the content accessed by the consumers?, he asked.

“That's a flawed part of the industry. No other industry works like that. So from that perspective, regulation is required for the current scenario to get resolved. And I am sure the government will reconsider when things settle down and we will become open market.” And Goenka is confident that at some point in future subscription fees will also become open, just like advertising and content acquisition.   

But will the regulation increase pricing for consumers in some way, in case one wants to continue with the entire pack of channels? Goenka agrees.

“It will, of course. However, this system gives the consumer the option to choose the price point. From the current Rs 180 to as low as Rs 150 or as high as Rs 500, that's what the regulation offers. The basic service is Rs 130, so if the consumer is happy with the basic service tier, they can pay the basic price. Just like telecom business; I can get a service at Rs 99 or some consumers even pay Rs 500, depending on whatever quantum of services you want to use. The same thing should apply to television. Why should we be any different? If you want to use more premium content you should be willing to pay more for it,” he argued.

According to Goenka, the order, like most other regulations, will not play out overnight.

“Today they don't have that capability. But this is the same thing that happened with digitisation. Was there the capability to digitise on day one when digitisation came into force? So maybe it will take six months or maybe nine months. It's not as if suddenly on January 1 everything changes overnight. It doesn't happen that way and I don't expect this regulation to also play out that way overnight.”

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India Today Group launches Aaj Tak HD, India’s first HD Hindi News Channel

The media group plans to launch the new channel with special features on Business, Bollywood and International News

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago


Aaj Tak has announced the launch of India’s first Hindi HD news channel-Aaj Tak HD. Reinforcing its 18 year legacy of being a pioneer, Aaj Tak marks another milestone by ushering in the future through the HD avatar. Aaj Tak HD will be powered by rich exclusives, superior picture and audio quality, lesser ad breaks, making it the preferred news destination.

Speaking on the launch, Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor in Chief, India Today Group said, “Time and Information are the real currencies of this digital age. We have created Aaj Tak HD to give the viewer the best value on both these counts. Aaj Tak HD has been designed in a way that there will be smaller ad breaks and much more news content than you will find anywhere else. Let me assure you that Aaj Tak HD is not just about High Definition audio-video. This is about High Definition content and more of it. As a market leader with Aaj Tak, we have always been Sabse Tez, and now with Aaj Tak HD we won’t be just Sabse Tez but also Sabse Zyada.”

Aaj Tak has had many firsts to its name, being the first to use 3 D augmented reality graphics during UP elections, first to use drone camera, first to launch election express – the only LIVE and on the move newsroom and by becoming the first Hindi news channel to beat GEC channels on coverage. The brand has always been in the forefront of pioneering new technologies and offering differentiated viewing experience to its customers. The launch of the HD channel will strengthen the company's competitive positioning and will consolidate its leadership in the Hindi speaking belt.

The media group plans to launch the new channel with special features on Business, Bollywood and International News. Aaj Tak HD will be offered exclusively on Tata Sky (Channel Number 508) in India initially, and eventually will become available on other platforms.

Welcoming the viewers to the next level of television news viewing, Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group said, “Your trust in Aaj Tak has grown year over year. It is our responsibility therefore to always be Sabse Tez... And also to always keep you ahead. Aaj Tak HD will keep you ahead on the technology curve and will service the entire spectrum of your interests including special features on International Content, Business and Bollywood.”

Aaj Tak is the leading channel in both urban and rural Hindi Speaking Markets not only as per BARC but also as per IRS data. With HD variant, Aaj Tak will also go on to attract the best and affluent Hindi viewer profile.

Welcome to an exciting High Definition ride with Aaj Tak HD to the next level of news consumption.

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Zee Hindustan re-launched as anchor-less channel

Zee Hindustan is a 24-hour Hindi TV news channel and a part of Zee Media Corporation Limited. It was launched in May 2017 with the motto 'States Make The Nation'

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


The Zee Media Corporation, part of the Essel Group, on Friday took a path-breaking step in television journalism by formally making its Hindi news channel Zee Hindustan anchor-less.


"The anchors who appear on news channels often appear to give colour to a particular story. The viewers who really want to follow, or just know about the news are left with no choice but to watch that anchor. We at Zee sensed this urgency and decided to come up with an alternative which will just give news, without any views. And this is how Zee Hindustan was born," said Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group, Dr. Subhash Chandra.

“Camera never lies, and with this new channel, the story will speak for itself and the viewers will get the correct news stories,” Dr Chandra added. "Since the inception of television news in the country, nobody has thought about giving the viewers a channel which can serve this basic purpose. Zee Hindustan fills that void," he said further.

Ashok Venkatramani, MD, ZMCL, said, “The country is heading towards the biggest election battle. In a forced opinionated environment, Zee Hindustan will definitely break the clutter and create a niche for itself amongst viewers. The news in purest form and variety of content will put the channel apart from others”.   

Purushottam Vaishnav, Editor-in-Chief of the channel, said, "It has been a strenuous two-month-long journey for all of us and my team did a commendable job in launching this channel in such a brief time. Zee Hindustan will give you news, without any views."

Zee Hindustan is a 24-hour Hindi TV news channel and a part of Zee Media Corporation Limited. It was launched in May, 2017, with the motto 'States Make The Nation'.

The channel was launched on a day that is of utmost significance for the entire Essel Group. "This was the day 91 years back when my great grandfather founded the firm, which is today's Essel," Dr Chandra had tweeted on the channel's launch.

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BARC Week 49: Zee Anmol retains top spot in overall market

Star Plus continues to lead urban market; Zee Anmol too retains leadership position in rural

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


Zee Anmol was yet again the leader in the overall market with 847 million impressions, followed by Star Plus on the second slot with 745 million impressions and Star Bharat on the third with 740 million impressions, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India Week 49 data.

In the programme category, Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya bagged the first slot with 13.9 million impressions, followed by Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya and Colors’ Naagin3 on number two and three with 13.1 and 12.5 million impressions, respectively. Star Bharat’s Radhakrishn stood at number four with 12.4 million impressions and Zee TV’s Kumkum Bhagya on the fifth with 12.1 million impressions.

Hindi GEC Urban

Star Plus retained its leadership position this week as well with 507 million impressions. It was followed by Zee TV on the second slot with 444 million impressions and Sony Entertainment Television on the third slot with 380 million impressions. Colors and Star Bharat stood at number four and five with 373 million impressions and 370 million impressions, respectively.

Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya bagged the first position in the programme list with 8.2 million impressions followed by Colors’ Naagin3 on second spot with 8.0 million impressions and Star Plus’ Kulfi Kumar Bajewala on number three with 7.5 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kumkum Bhagya and Star Bharat’s Radhakrishn were on fourth and fifth spots with 7.4 and 6.6 million impressions, respectively.

Hindi GEC Rural

Zee Anmol too continued to lead the rural market with 688 million impressions, followed by Star Utsav on the second spot with 434 million impressions and Sony Pal on the third with 380 million impressions. Star Bharat and Dangal TV stood on the fourth and fifth positions with 370 million and 355 million impressions, respectively.

Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya continued to lead the list of top five programmes with 11.6 million impressions, followed by Mahek on the same channel with 8.3 million impressions on second slot and Dangal TV’s Ramayan on three with 7.2 million impressions. Zee Anmol’s Ek Main Aur Ek Tu and Sony Pal’s Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma bagged fourth and fifth spots with 7.2 million and 6.6 million impressions, respectively.

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‘Your pack. Your choice’: Broadcasters start educating consumers about new tariff policy

Several networks are running a TVC that informs consumers about new packages and pricing under the soon-to-be implemented TRAI tariff order

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


“Your pack. Your choice. Your entertainment,” says a TVC being run by major broadcast networks, informing consumers about new packages and pricing under the soon-to-be implemented TRAI tariff order. The campaign suggests viewers to contact their cable operators for details.

With just days to go before the tariff order comes into force on January 1, broadcasters have started informing consumers about the new pricing policy. As per the order, the consumers can select and pay for the channels they want to watch.

The TVC, which mentions “brought to you in public interest by IBF, Star Network, ZEEL, Sony Pictures Network India and Viacom 18,” also tells consumers that “now, your decision will be the final decision. As per the new government regulation, enjoy the freedom to choose your favourite channel packs and pay accordingly.”

And not just the TVC, some channels have also started showing their price on the distribution platforms.

While broadcasters have started informing consumers about the order, as reported by exchange4media earlier, there still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the tariff order.

Sources in the industry say that with petitions against the order still pending in court, DTH/ cable operators are hopeful of a stay order. There is a possibility that the implementation of the order could be pushed further ahead.

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Telangana election results: When channels and meme pages got creative

Most of the images were inspired by films such as Baahubali and 2.0 and actor Rajinikanth

Neethu Mohan 3 days ago


The Telangana Assembly election results were declared on December 11 and K Chandrasekhar Rao led TRS to a thumping victory.

Channels, both regional and national, covered the results extensively. The regional channels started live telecast from 6 am and live updates, panel discussions and in-depth analysis continued during the day. While the sentiments ran high on the ground, in the studios, some channels got highly creative, taking reportage to a different level.

The Rajinikanth starrer 2.0 is raking millions in the box office and the influence of the movie was clearly seen on the counting day. HMTV, a 24- hour Telugu channel presented KCR as ‘Chiiti- the robot’ (a heroic character from the movie 2.0) in a graphic shown during their news updates.


The channel had GIFs of winning candidates jumping with joy while the election results were being declared. HMTV also portrayed caricatures of the candidates who lost, with tears rolling down their faces and Telugu film song ‘Nee Gudu Chedirindi’ playing in the background.

Another major Telugu player Sakshi TV also went creative with caricatures and cartoons. Sakshi presented a cartoon video where TDP President Chandrababu Naidu was seen riding a cycle (TDP’s party symbol) with Congress leaders Uttam Kumar Reddy and Ponnala Lakshmaiah.

Another video portrayed Chandrababu Naidu sitting on a tree along with the same leaders, and in a while, falling. The video takes a snide pull on TDS and Congress alliance named Prajakutami.

Meanwhile, meme pages too celebrated the election results by posting hilarious images. The memes were highly influenced by movies like Baahubali, 2.0, and Rajinikanth.

Apart from Telangana results, the memes were focused on Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan state elections results as well.

Let’s take a look at few of them:




Neethu reports on media, marketing and advertising industry. In the past she has reported on start-ups, education and health sector for over 6 years.

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Thanthi TV Editor-in-Chief Rangaraj Pandey steps down

Rangaraj Pandey said he wanted a break from his daily routine and also give opportunity to next generation of journalists.

exchange4media Staff 4 days ago


Rangaraj Pandey, who was the Editor-in-Chief of Thanthi TV, has quit from his post, with effect from Monday. Pandey announced his decision to step down in an emotional video, where he thanked the viewers and said that he wanted a break from his daily routine. He added that he also wanted to give space and opportunity to the next generation of journalists.

Pandey, who has 22 years of experience in journalism, began his career with Tamil newspaper Dinamalar. He started the well-known satire column “Doubtu Dhanabalu”, a fictional character who mocks the day-to-day political discourse in Tamil Nadu and pan-India.

His interviews with famous personalities made him a popular television face. He hosts talk show “Kelvikku Enna Badhil” (What is the answer to the question?). Pandey also hosted a prime-time news debate programme ‘Ayutha Ezhuthu‘. He is renowned for his simple and spontaneous questioning style. Pandey, who hails from North India, is a post graduate in Tamil from Madurai Kamaraj University.


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MIB calls for meet to discuss broadband services through cable TV networks

A conference will be held with cable TV industry representatives on December 18

exchange4media Staff 5 days ago


The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is organising a conference of cable TV industry representatives (MSOs) on December 18 to discuss providing broadband services through cable TV networks.

The meet will discuss various issues, including feasibility, affordability, ubiquity, infrastructure, modalities of payment and segregation of revenue earned from broadband activities.

According to a ministry notice, detailed deliberation will be held on: (i) willingness of the operators to invest in the infrastructure required. ii) The payment of 8 per cent Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) as the fee to DoT, whether to be paid only on the broadband services or on overall revenue earned in respect of both the businesses. iii) Whether separate entity needs to be created for the broadband activities for segregation of the revenue earned on it. iv)All other issues related to the delivery of broadband services through cable TV network.

The notice mentions that the conference will be held at Gulmohar Hall, Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, and will see participation from major MSOs, officials from MIB, DoT, TRAI and Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL).

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Telangana News broadcasters spike ad rates by 25-80% ahead of election results

The results of assembly election in Telangana along with other four states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh will be announced today

Neethu Mohan 5 days ago


The results of assembly election in Telangana along with four other states, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh will be announced today. The election results are considered to be the semi-finals to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A grand alliance of Congress, Telugu Desham Party (TDS), Communist Party of India (CPI), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) named Prajakootami  (People’s front) was formed with an objective of defeating the ruling TRS in the elections. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are the two other parties on the battlefield. Sixty is the magic number required to form the government in the 119 member Telangana assembly. The state recorded a turn out of 73.2 per cent of voters and if the numbers are in favour of TRS, then K Chandrashekar Rao will return to power and form the government.

The various news organisations have released exit poll survey results prior to the counting day.

CNX - Times Now, India TV, Axis My India - India Today and Aaj Tak, Republic Jan Ki Baat, CVoter - Republic TV are few of the exit poll surveys and these surveys have revealed mixed results for Congress and BJP.

The channels across the country have lined up extensive programs for the counting day with live updates and in-depth analyses of the election results.

CNN-News18 launched numerous shows to bring latest developments throughout the elections – the campaigning phase and the polling day.

Under the channel’s programming ‘Reporters Project’, their reporters travelled across Telangana to capture the ground realities, assess issues and record the sentiments of the people at the center of the story.

With comprehensive reportage to bring the fastest and most accurate results, first reactions and a 360-degree view of the final picture, the programming will commence at 6 AM on CNN-News18. Offering a combination of live coverage, real-time updates on seat tally, the programming on the channel will not only keep a close track of the trends but also provide in-depth analyses and implications of the results.  

With the entire News18 Network’s team of journalists across the states bringing in up-to-the-minute updates on the results, the channel will bring to the viewers unparalleled access to the latest happenings.

On CNN-News18, Executive Editor Bhupendra Chaubey along with Deputy Executive Editor Zakka Jacob and Deputy Executive Editor Anand Narasimhan will also be joined by a panel of the prominent journalists and the finest political analysts like Swapan Dasgupta, Sanjaya Baru, Vir Sanghvi, Surjit Bhalla, Ajoy Bose, Rasheed Kidwai and Advaita Kala to bring a comprehensive analysis of the results of the assembly elections.

The regional players in Telangana have also lined up programs for the state’s D-Day. The channels also have hiked their advertisement rates for the day. On the other hand, a few channels are planning to go for limited advertisement space telecast. 

According to industry experts based in Hyderabad, the channels have raised their advertisement rates by 20-80%. “The channels have come up with premium package for the advertisers on the counting day. There will be a huge rise in the advertisement rates and there will a high demand for advertisement space in the morning slots. There will be a spike of more than 20-60 % from the actual advertisement rate,” said a senior media planner based in Hyderabad.

Talking to exchange4media, Srinivas Murthy, VP, Marketing TV5 News Network said, “TV5 will be starting live telecast from 6 am. We have deployed 50 OB vans and reporters covering all the counting centres. There will be a change in screen layout for tomorrow and we are doing a 360-degree coverage of the counting day.”

“There will be a huge rise in the TV viewership today. The viewership on the counting day will double than compared to the normal days,” added Murthy.

The channel will be conducting an in-depth analysis of the election results.

“We have a premium package for advertisers for the day and have hiked the advertisement rates by 25%,” said Murthy.

Another major player in South India TV9 is providing non-stop coverage of the counting day with special bulletins and live telecasts. The channel started their live telecast at 6 am.

“Today we will be allotting very limited advertisement space and there are premium advertisement packages for today,” said Clifford Pereira, Director, TV9. “The TV viewership will be phenomenal and a rise of 100% in terms of viewership will be achieved easily today,” added Pereira.

The Telugu News channel NTV is also doing an extensive coverage of the counting day. “We are doing a marathon live on this D-Day. We have deployed reporters and contributors across the counting centres. The advertisement space will be limited for today at the same time we expect a rise of 80-90% increase in terms of viewership,” said Hari Krishnan, Chief Copy Editor, NTV News.

“The Telangana elections are very crucial for the political parties and the channels also reap benefits during the election period in terms of revenue and viewership. The high amount of competition in the TV space will force the players to provide unbiased reportage of the events. In terms of advertisement rates, there will be a spike of almost 80%. In terms of viewership, the local channels will have a massive rise,” concluded, a senior media planner.

Neethu reports on media, marketing and advertising industry. In the past she has reported on start-ups, education and health sector for over 6 years.

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Discussion on BARC India suspending ratings for 2 months is ‘premature’: Industry experts

However, industry veterans emphasised on the need for creating public awareness on the TRAI order for its better implication

exchange4media Staff 5 days ago


Amidst speculations of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) not releasing ratings for two months in the backdrop of TRAI rating order, industry sources told exchange4media a concrete decision on this is expected in a meeting of stakeholders later this month.

Senior industry sources also confirmed that there were "premature" discussions around it during meetings held few weeks ago. However, nothing concrete has been decided as of now. "It was discussed as one of the possible options to deal with the scenario as most of us are trying to find ways to tackle the issue," said a senior industry source.

Industry veterans however emphasized on the need for creating public awareness on the TRAI order for its better implication.

A senior executive said, “The meeting was scheduled to take place tomorrow. However the meeting has been rescheduled because many board members were not available. Only in that meeting we will come to know whether it's going to happen or not. Also there is no mention of this in any agenda. As of now this is only word of mouth.”

Another senior industry expert said, “The suggestion has some logic because when there will be disruption of this magnitude nobody should be in a position to take advantage showing ratings in this phase.” Going by the information the meeting will happen in next 15 days.

This kind of a blackout has happened twice - in 2012 when the government had asked for the mandatory switch from analogue to digital cable and second time in 2015 when the industry moved from TAM to BARC.

As per our sources, there is a lot of uncertainty on the implementation of the Tariff order post January 1, 2018, due to the pending petitions in court and DTH/cable operators expecting to get a stay order; there is a higher probability that the implantation date of this order will be pushed ahead further.

The order

Early this year, Star had approached the Apex court questioning TRAI’s jurisdiction to frame tariff order on the grounds that the authority has no jurisdiction on content as that actually comes under Copyright Act and not TRAI Act.

The appeal was filed against the fractured judgement passed by a two-judge Bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar. The bench had given a split verdict. Justice M Sundar had ruled in favour of Star. Commenting on the judgement delivered by Justice M Sundar, the Supreme Court order stated, “I am unable to agree with the conclusion of M. Sundar, J. that the provisions of the impugned Regulation and the impugned Tariff Order are not in conformity with the TRAI Act. In my view the impugned provisions neither touch upon the content of programmes of broadcasters, nor liable to be struck down.”

“However, the clause putting cap of 15% to the discount on the MRP of a bouquet is arbitrary. The said provision is, in my view, not enforceable. In my considered view, the challenge to the impugned Regulation and the impugned Tariff Order fail,” the order read further.

The 2017 Regulations prevented the mixing of pay channels and free to air channels in a single bouquet.  The Regulations restricted placing high definition format and ordinary format of the same channel in the same bouquet.  Another restriction was that a bouquet of pay channels should not contain any pay channel where the Maximum Retail Price is more than Rs 19.

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BARC India bags ‘Most Innovative Company’ award

BARC India won the award in the Service- Medium-sized enterprise category at the 5th CII Industrial Innovation Awards. It was also recognised as one of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies in India.

exchange4media Staff 6 days ago


BARC India was adjudged the ‘Most Innovative Company in Service – Medium Enterprise Category’ at the CII Industrial Innovations 2018 Awards. The company has also been recognised as one of the ‘Top 25 Most Innovative Companies in India’. The announcement was made in a ceremony of the 5th CII Industrial Innovation Awards 2018 held in New Delhi on December 3, 2018.

The Industrial Innovation Awards identify and celebrate innovative Indian enterprises across various sectors. The award has been instituted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and is one of the most coveted innovation awards in India, BARC said in a statement on Monday.

The winners have been decided after a four-stage process, spanning across eight months. This also included an assessor visit to understand BARC India’s robust technology set up on the back of some path-breaking innovations and a presentation in front of an eminent jury. 

The company said that the award is a validation of the rigorous and credible measurement system that BARC India has established in a short span of three years. With its robust methodology and constant tech innovations, BARC India has developed a world class system for the TV industry. It can also be recalled that BARC India’s BAR-O-Meters were developed indigenously at 1/6th the cost of globally available meters. This ensured scalability as well as ensured that the meters could handle the weather/power/telecom fluctuations which is unique to the Indian market, the statement mentioned.

The other innovation which has helped BARC India achieve the status of Most Innovative Companies is the Panel Management System (PMS). This indigenously developed system has helped in bringing efficiency in the field force that installs, manages and trains the panel homes. This has played an important role in ensuring reporting from the panel homes at par with global standards.

The third innovation is the BIO suite of products which is a visualization tool that provides interactive UI, 90 per cent reduction in output time and helps in faster and better decision making. 

Shashi Sinha, BARC India Technical Committee Chairman and CEO, IPG Mediabrands, said, “BARC India was set up with the aim to give the industry a measurement system that it deserved, and this could not have happened without having a strong technology backbone. The team at BARC India has been able to give the industry a technology marvel which is capable of providing the industry a representative data that helps them take better business decisions. The CII Industrial Innovation Award is proof of the great work done by the team.” 

BARC India Chairman Nakul Chopra added, “BARC India has been a key-change agent in the viewership measurement space, and its initiatives have already started to redefine the industry. Since its inception, BARC India has tackled several challenges. But, considering we work in a dynamic industry, these challenges are never-ending. The key to success is to constantly keep innovating and be the change-maker. BARC India has been successful in doing so. We are now looking at implementing some key future projects such as Unified Video Measurement and Return Path Data, which will bring another paradigm shift in the industry.”

BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta said, “In future, technology will disrupt every single business, be it cement, retail, telecomm, e-comm or media. It is therefore important to keep pace with the changing technology. As is said, in tomorrow’s world, the big fish will not eat the small fish, but a fast fish will eat the slow one. We at BARC India firmly believe that innovation is imperative and not a choice. We also believe that it is important to be the fearless first to inspire change and not be a mere follower. I am delighted to see that our efforts have been recognised by CII. We shall continue to empower the industry with our robust measurement.”

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