Expectations high from BARC, but will it deliver?

Broadcasters expect BARC to perform on several parameters such as a robust sample size, transparency, responsiveness, consistency and security

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Feb 24, 2014 8:07 AM
Expectations high from BARC, but will it deliver?

Given the current dynamic scenario, wherein the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has cracked a whip on TV ratings and TAM with its new guidelines, the operations of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which are slated to commence from October 2014, have attained heightened importance.

exchange4media spoke to some of the leading broadcasters to know their expectations from BARC.

KVL Narayan Rao, President, NBA and Vice Chairman, NDTV commented, “There must be an adequate panel size. The move to have 20,000 boxes, growing by 10,000 boxes a year till it reaches 50,000 boxes, is fantastic. I expect regular rotation of panel homes, adequate security of data and regular audits, along with different agencies for technology, analyses and interpretation of data and independence. BARC offers all of these. It will meet my expectation of consistently accurate data that is reflective of a channel’s true performance.”

Rahul Johri, Senior VP & GM – South Asia and Head of Revenue, Pan-Regional Ad Sales and Southeast Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific said, “We expect BARC to provide the Indian media industry with a robust measurement tool which everybody can depend on.”

Commenting on 20,000 meters as a sample size, he said, “As experts, they will decide the right number of meters for this country, but to measure the length, breadth and diversity of the country, a significant number of meters is required and they are making the right investment.”

Sharing his point of view, Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, ABP News said, “We are constantly emphasising on the strength of the sample size. It has to be in line with what TRAI has mandated.”

Venkatramani also expressed concern over the security of boxes. He said, “We have often received complaints in the past that some channels get to know where the boxes are and hence, the suspected manipulation of numbers. We expect BARC to adopt a technology that is immune to manipulation, so that subscribers like us can feel safe that the representation is not susceptible to manipulation. We have witnessed sudden glitches and there is lack of consistency. We expect BARC to be a responsive organisation in reacting to issues faced by the subscribers.”

Answering the critical question, Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors said, “First and foremost, it has to rectify all the issues that the broadcasting industry has faced with the current measurement system. They should go beyond what has been mandated by TRAI in the number of meters to be deployed so as to make the whole system more robust. If we are going to also add rural regions, 20,000 boxes will not make much difference. The sample size needs to be more robust, at least 30,000-40,000 meters in Phase I, more so for the niche genres. This needs to go up to at least 1 lakh meters over next the seven years as the universe keeps expanding.

He further said, “Complete transparency in all the aspects related to the operations of the measurement system, a robust system to capture viewing behaviour (across the other available screens to reflect the true consumption of content which will benefit the content creators/ broadcasters and the advertisers likewise), capturing and reporting of even deferred viewing are the other critical expectations from BARC.”


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