It's wait & watch for industry as BARC releases 1st separate Free & Pay channel viewership

The industry has mixed emotions about the new viewership reporting pattern

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jul 12, 2019 8:52 AM  | 3 min read

For the first time ever BARC India reported viewership from Free and Pay platforms separately. Week 27 set new trends but the results aren’t surprising

In the broad category of ‘Across Genres-Free Platform’ top 10 channel list, Dangal stood at the first position with 538609000 impressions followed by Big Magic, B4U Kadak, DD Sports and Bhojpuri Cinema. In the same category ‘Pay Platform’ Star Sports 1 Hindi lead the listing with 1502216000 impressions, followed by Sun TV, Star Plus, Zee TV, and Star Maa.

In the broad category of ‘Across Genres-All Platforms’, the data of Week 27 looked quite similar to what it was in the week prior to that. STAR Sports 1 Hindi led the category like it did last week with 1507317000 impressions followed by Sun TV, Dangal, Star Plus, and Zee TV. This week, however, Star Plus and Zee TV changed positions.

Unlike common perception, the viewership from Free and Pay platforms were reported separately only for Hindi GEC and ‘All genres’ category.

The industry had mixed emotions about the new viewership reporting pattern. While some are happy about the move, some do not know of what consequences the new regime would be. A part of the industry also thinks it is too early to decipher why BARC India suddenly decided to report viewership from free and pay platforms separately.

“It is too early to interpret or take any reference point. Every data points take a few weeks to understand and conclude anything on that. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out in the next few weeks. Overall nothing will change much, but will give us further bifurcation, which eventually should help all stakeholders, “said Pawan Jailkhani Chief Revenue officer 9X media.

When BARC announced their plan of action about the same earlier this week Ritu Dhawan, MD & CEO, India TV also said it is too early to comment on the utility of the move, however, she also said any data that's convertible into intelligence should always be welcomed.

“Though it’s early in the day to comment on its utility, the team anticipates that among other insights, this particular development may be able to add another dimension to the resource deployment matrix, particularly in certain specific segments, geographically and otherwise,” says Dhawan.

“Additionally, this may also help to get a more refined perspective on the rural markets, specifically because of Free Dish and its huge impact on these markets, along with insights on viewership of pay channels, especially in rural areas. This may lead to some course corrections by both free and pay channels,” she added.

An industry insider said, “While there is a clear change in leadership positions in some genre like GECs platform to platform, other genres like Hindi news have shown as the same leader across Pay and Free. Interesting to see that No.  2 rank in the Hindi news genre differs between Pay and FTA platforms even there”.

Another industry expert said that some channels have been monopolizing the numero uno position simply on the basis of the DD Free Dish’s reach of about 25 million. “The free platform and pay platform data reported separately will clearly show that certain channels have been making it to number one only because they are free and reaches millions through Free Dish. Channels will now have to contest for the top position in the pay category to prove the worth of the content they run,” he said.

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