Why is TRAI getting into television measurement?

Broadcast industry insiders believe that the government should not interfere in TV measurement and have questioned the 'urgency' in issuing the recommendations

e4m by Srabana Lahiri
Published: May 7, 2020 8:56 AM  | 7 min read
TV

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s recent recommendation on a major overhaul in the governance structure and operational framework of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, the joint-industry body for TV audience measurement, comes as a shocker for the beleaguered broadcast industry, media agencies and marketers who have been relying on BARC for TV rating services since 2015. TRAI believes there is a need for the development of multiple data collection and rating agencies and once that happens, BARC India should limit its role to publishing the TV ratings, framing methodology and audit mechanism for the rating agencies.

Besides, TRAI wants to raise the number of people meters from 44,000 to 66,000 by the end of 2020 and 1,00,000 by the end of 2022. “Apart from the cost implication, you cannot have multiple currencies, you can’t have rupee and dollar in the same country. Some rookie may have put together the TRAI document without understanding how the industry works. In a way, this is the beginning of the killing of BARC. There are people who love to find loopholes in the system, basically, these are the people who would tamper with meters and do all kinds of illegitimate things; therefore they do not want a strong scientific system,” says a senior industry professional who does not wish to be named. The same person pointed out several loopholes in the TRAI document – for instance, the mention of “multiple data collection agencies”, implying that data is physically collected from people meters.

WHY AT THIS TIME?

Other sources in the broadcast industry also say they suspect vested interest of a few stakeholders behind this move at this critical time for the economy overall and media industry, in particular, reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. On condition of anonymity, an industry expert questioned the ‘urgency’ in issuing the recommendations. “In 2018, TRAI issued a consultation paper seeking comments of stakeholders on issues related to review of the existing system. What was the urgency for TRAI in choosing a time when BARC is set to complete five years? BARC was a project which took a long time to come into execution. The process of creating a joint industry body started in 2006 and ended in 2015, a decade has been invested,” the expert said.

BARC India is promoted by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), based on a 60:20:20 formula (IBF 60%, ISA 20%, AAAI 20%). It was seen to be the solution to the alleged shortcomings - such as data integrity, data inaccuracy and monopoly - of TAM Media Research (TAM), the agency providing TV audience measurement before BARC came into existence. Almost a decade and heavy investment went into planning and setting up BARC, and hypothetically, to repeat that exercise would spell disaster for the industry. Over the last five years, the television industry also suffered enough disruption at the onset of digitization of cable television in the country, the transition from TAM to BARC and the new tariff order (NTO), and would not welcome another upheaval in the system if it can help it.

TIME, COST, MANPOWER

Reportedly, large networks end up paying around Rs 40-50 crore annually to BARC for the ratings. Of course, not all benefit out of the ratings, hence this payment is also questioned by broadcasters many a time. However, the key point is that to attract advertising, any industry needs a currency for measurement. BARC, launched in April 2015, as an independent joint industry body formed by broadcasters, advertisers and agencies, took time in its adoption too. But broadcasters adapted to the new software pretty quickly and followed by media agencies and marketers who are now used to the new software. An overhauling of this, in case the TRAI recommendations actually go forward, will not only involve huge cost and time but also take a toll on trained manpower and systems set up with much effort by the stakeholders.

“BARC ratings are used as a trading currency in the broadcast domain… someone is selling TV time, and someone is buying TV time. It is a commercial thing. What’s the Government's role in this? Who are they to tell us… that we should have one lakh meters or two lakh meters… How does TRAI come to the conclusion about a finite number? Do they have data to back that? Why recommend 1 lakh – we can say 10 lakh is better than 1 lakh! Besides, who will do the funding for that? I would urge the Government to please fund it, else refrain from advising us if they are not funding. It’s our money, so why should we spend on their recommendation?” asks a senior broadcaster.

WHY GOVT INTERFERENCE?

TRAI’s recent recommendations come on the basis of the open house interactions it organises from time to time. The stakeholders reply to the consultation papers, from where the authority picks up its actions without considering their far- fetched implications. The industry feels that the Government should not interfere with this at all. “Print measurement is run independently. Digital measurement is not in their purview. Why is TRAI getting into television measurement? Even if they claim that they were referred to by the MIB, why is the Government getting into only TV measurement?” asks a senior broadcaster who does not wish to be named.

WILL MIB RATIFY IT?

Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar assured IBF office-bearers in a virtual meeting held on May 1 that the Government will take all steps to help the media and entertainment industry. When IBF functionaries raised the issue related to TRAI’s recommendations for BARC with the minister, he said his Ministry is looking into it very seriously and will see how both their concerns can be addressed.

But with Amit Khare recently returning as Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, some have voiced concerns that TRAI’s recommendations now have more chances of actually moving ahead. Even if 50% of the recommendations are accepted by the MIB, it will be a tough call for the industry, say, insiders. There was a huge show of solidarity by broadcasters in January this year when every top broadcaster came together on one stage to rally against TRAI’s fresh tariff regulations, that the regulator claimed to be a ‘fine-tuning’ of its New Tariff Order (NTO), implemented barely a year earlier. It remains to be seen what path the TRAI recommendations take, whether it goes to court, and then what happens. Also how much energy the IBF will put into fighting this as they are already waging the NTO battle with TRAI. For now, no one’s commenting.

Adding his voice to the discussion, Karan Taurani, VP- Research, Elara Capital said, “Given all the mediums – TV, Radio, Print, Cinema and OOH, TV has the best measurement system, and Digital still not able to develop one. BARC is the best rating mechanism. I think it can sail away from these tough times.”

Partho Dasgupta, Former CEO, BARC said, “On the operational front, the recommendations should have taken a much closer look at ground realities and not paid heed to just what some uninformed stakeholders would say. For example, BARC does enough number of audits - both by international and domestic experts - to ensure that processes are followed properly. These are also reported on the public website. I have not understood how an arm’s length distance will work with MDL (the field management company) when the meter technology is developed and maintained by BARC, as also the sample design and measurement sciences. Getting three companies involved, putting 100,000 meters - does the economics support it? Broadcasters who pay the bulk of revenues to BARC already complain about what they are paying. How will increased expenses be funded? Also why around the world there is only one rating company in a country and not multiple - someone should evaluate.” 

(With inputs from Dipali Banka and Sonam Saini)

(This story was carried by Impact)

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WION to launch on UK’s DTT platform Freeview

The channel will be available from March 22, 2023

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 3:56 PM   |   2 min read

wion

WION, World Is One will launch on the UK’s leading platform – Freeview via IP and using the most innovative FAST SSAI on 22nd March 2023. The channel expanded its global footprint and increased its reach by 15 mn Freeview Connect households in the UK. Viewers in the UK can tune in to the channel on Channel #287 via Freeview, starting March 22, 2023.

Emphasising the global partnership and outreach, Madhu Soman, Chief Business Officer of WION, said, “WION has always been open to exploring new platforms. Taking into consideration the fact that Freeview replaced the old analogue TV service accessibility to a widespread audience in the UK, it is a great opportunity for the channel to present global stories from an Indian perspective. This global move also encourages us to further boost timely and fast-paced news reportage with gripping visuals and strong content, backed by research and investigation.”

Anindya Khare, Marketing Head of Zee Media Corporation Limited, further added, “The United Kingdom television viewing market is expected to flourish because of some major factors like emerging economies' rapid economic development, demand for smart televisions, the growing over-the-top platform market etc. We strongly believe that the UK market has a lot of potential for the channel to introduce new customised programme packaging to the audience, engage stakeholders through strategised communication and build on a high preference ratio.

Through a strategised approach, we also look forward to being consistent in launching interesting programmes on WION in markets like US, India, UK etc. This allows our glocalised viewers and readers to understand the impact of major global events from a uniquely Indian perspective.”

“We are thrilled to launch WION via Freeview Connect and expand Freeview news offering with the leading news channel from India and also being able to monetise it using the Synapse FAST SSAI”, said Tanya Kronfli, Managing Director of Global Distribution Services, specialising on delivery and digital Monetisation of TV content via Freeview Connect.

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Gauranga Das Prabhu to be part of enba jury panel

Prabhu is an author, spiritual leader, inspirational speaker and member of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 8:57 AM   |   2 min read

gauranga Das

Gauranga Das Prabhu, an author, spiritual leader & inspirational speaker, has joined the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (enba) jury panel. Das, a graduate from IIT Bombay, is a member of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission. He is actively involved in enhancing leadership effectiveness and governance of temples and communities globally.

Owing to his expertise in presenting vedic knowledge in a contemporary and enticing way, he has been a part of TEDx events and corporates like Intel, Salesforce, Google etc. He is the director of ISKCON’s Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV), founded by Radhanath Swami Maharaj. The GEV has won several awards, including United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Award in 2017.

He has enabled GEV’s accreditation with multiple United Nation bodies like UNEP, UNCCD, ECOSOC and CBD. On behalf of ISKCON, he is UNEP’s Faith for Earth Counsellor.

enba was formulated by the exchange4media group in 2008 with the objective of recognizing the best in television news. The awards recognise and honour industry leaders who are responsible for shaping the future of television broadcasting in India. This year, enba is in its 15th edition. The jury will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat and former Election Commissioner of India.

In the last editions, the enba jury was led by Harivansh Narayan Singh – Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Dr Kiran Karnik – Former President – Nasscom, Dr Nasim Zaidi - Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, SY Quraishi – Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N Ram – Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., Former Editor–in-chief The Hindu and Group Newspapers, Sanjay Gupta – Managing Director – Star India.

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Longest-ever DD Free Dish auction gives Prasar Bharati Rs 1069 crore

The average price per slot stands at Rs 16.5 crore

By Sonam Saini | Mar 21, 2023 8:49 AM   |   3 min read

DD free dish

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has mopped up Rs 1069.60 crore from the e-auction of 65 MPEG-2 slots on DD Free Dish.  The broadcaster's total revenue has seen a 66 per cent jump compared to last year's auction.

On the last day of the auction on Monday, seven slots were sold, with the highest bid of Rs 18.7 crore coming from Bflix. Other channels that secured the slots on the last day were Enterr10 (Rs 17 crore), GNT (Rs 17.9 crore), India TV (Rs 18.65 crore), Bharat 24 (Rs 17.15 crore), ABZY Cool (Rs 16 crore) and Sun Marathi (Rs 18.5 crore). 

This is the first time in the history of DD Free Dish auction that the process went on for eight days. The auction was conducted over the weekend as well. 

The auction saw participation of broadcasters from different genres. However, the big four networks' Hindi general entertainment channels Star Utsav, Zee Anmol, Sony Pal and Colors Rishtey stayed out of the auction.

"The revenue could have gone up if these four channels had participated," said industry sources.

The average price per slot this year stands at Rs 16.5 crore. 

In the Bucket A+ category, which comprises Hindi GECs, 11 slots were sold for Rs 189.65 crore.

Last year, there were six slots in this category which were sold for Rs 91.1 crore. The highest bid in this genre was made by The Q India for Rs 17.9 crore. Other channels that bagged the slots were Dangal, Shemaroo TV, Manoranjan Grand, Manoranjan TV, Big Magic, Shemaroo Umang, Nazara, Dangal 2, Ishara TV and Shemaroo Ashirwad. The base price for this category last year was Rs 15 crore. 

Under the Bucket A (movie channels), 19 slots were sold for Rs 329.55 crore this year. The highest bid in this category was made by Zee Anmol Cinema for Rs 24.05 crore. In fact this was the highest price ever paid for a movie channel slot in the history of DD Free Dish auction. Last year, 16 slots were sold for a total of Rs 166.55 crore in this category.

Under Bucket B, which comprises (music Hindi channels, sports, and all channels of Bhojpuri languages), 12 channels were sold for Rs 206.85 crore. The highest bid in this category was by Zee Biskope for Rs 22.1 crore. The lowest bid in the music genre was made by 9XM for Rs 15.2 crore. 

Sources said, “The best bid came from 9XM, a music channel. They strategically waited for their turn and took a slot at Rs 15.2 crore, which is well below the average price paid for the other six music channel slots.”

Under Bucket C (Hindi news channels), 12 channels secured slots for Rs 199.1 crore in this year's auction. News18 India paid the highest price for the first slot at Rs 19.85 crore. Other channels that secured slots were Aaj Tak, TV9 Bharatvarsh, R Bharat, Zee News, ABP News, NDTV India, News Nation, Times Now Navbharat, Bharat 24, India TV and GNT.

In the 2022 e-auction, the pubcaster earned Rs 120 crore from the sale of 14 slots in this category.

Under Bucket D (all other remaining genre of Hindi, devotional channels, all genre of marathi, Punjabi and Urdu channels and news english channels), 10 slots sold out for Rs 144.45 crore. At Rs 18.5 crore, the top bidder in this category was Sun Marathi. Under Bucket R1 only one channel, Popular TV, bagged the slot for Rs 3.05 crore.

Compared to 2023, in 2022, the pubcaster earned Rs 645 crore from the allotment of 59 MPEG-2 slots. 



 

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FreeDish e-auction ends, Prasar Bharati earns Rs 1073 crore from 65 slots

On the last day on Monday, seven slots were auctioned. The highest bid came from Bflix

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 6:43 PM   |   1 min read

DD Free Dish

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has mopped up Rs 1073 crore from the e-auction of 65 MPEG-2 slots on DD Free Dish.  

On the last day of the auction on Monday, seven slots were sold, with the highest bid of Rs 18.7 crore coming from Bflix. Other channels that secured the slots on the last day were Enterr10 (Rs 17 crore), GNT (Rs 17.9 crore), India TV (Rs 18.65 crore), Bharat 24 (Rs 17.15 crore), ABZY Cool (Rs 16 crore) and Sun Marathi (Rs 18.5 crore). 

This is the first time in the history of DD Free Dish auction that the process went on for eight days. In fact, the auction was conducted over the weekend as well. 

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enba: Prasanth Kumar joins jury panel

Kumar is the CEO of GroupM-South Asia

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 20, 2023 8:19 AM   |   1 min read

PK

Prasanth Kumar, CEO - GroupM South Asia, has joined the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) jury panel. Kumar, popularly known as PK, has over 25 years of industry experience.

Before joining GroupM, Kumar was associated with companies like Pepsi, The Hindu, The Media Edge & McCann Erickson.

Kumar is currently President of AAAI for the 2022-23 term.

The exchange4media Group formulated enba in 2008 with the sole objective of recognizing the best in television news. The awards recognise and acknowledge industry leaders who are responsible for shaping the future of television broadcasting in India. This year, ENBA is in its 15th edition. The grand jury this year will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat and former Election Commissioner of India.

In the previous editions, the enba jury was led by Harivansh Narayan Singh – Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Dr Kiran Karnik – Former President – Nasscom, Dr Nasim Zaidi - Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, SY Quraishi – Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N Ram – Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., Former Editor–in-Chief The Hindu and Group Newspapers, Sanjay Gupta – Managing Director – Star India. 

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Free Dish e-auction: 25 channels pick up slots in rounds 2 & 3 

According to sources, the pubcaster has mopped up approximately Rs 409 crore in these two rounds; bidding for remaining rounds to continue on March 20

By Sonam Saini | Mar 20, 2023 8:01 AM   |   2 min read

TV

Prasar Bharati continued the e-auction for vacant MPEG-2 slots on DD Free Dish on the weekend with 25 channels picking up slots in rounds 2 and 3.

The starting receive prices for each round were Rs 16 crore and Rs 13 crore, respectively. 

While the buckets eligible for bidding in round 2 were A+, A, B, C, D and R1, round 3 saw bidding for buckets A, B, C, D and R1. 

According to industry sources, the pubcaster has mopped up approximately Rs 409 crore in these two rounds. 

The channels that secured slots in round 2 were Sony Wah (Rs 20.25 crore), Star Gold Thrill (Rs 17.85 crore), Colors Cineplex Bollywood (Rs 17.5 crore), Shemaroo Ashirwad (Rs 17 crore), Dangal 2 (Rs 16.8 crore), Shemaroo Umang (Rs 16.65 crore), Nazara (Rs 16.6 crore), Manoranjan Prime (Rs 16.7 crore), Goldmine Bollywood (Rs 16.7 crore), Ishara (Rs 16.75 crore), Goldmines (Rs 16.9 crore) and B4U Music (Rs 17.05 crore). 

The channels that picked up slots in round 3 were Showbox (Rs 17.05 crore), Dil Se (Rs 17.05 crore), Filmachi (Rs 16.7 crore), Goldmines (Rs 15 crore), Aastha Channel (Rs 15.05 crore), Times Navbharat (Rs 15.15 crore), another slot by Goldmines (Rs 15.35 crore), B4U Bhojpuri (Rs 15.05 crore), Bhojpuri Cinema (Rs 15.1 crore), News Nation (Rs 15.05 crore), Aaj Tak (Rs 15.1 crore), 9XM (Rs 15.2 crore) and Movie Plus (Rs 15.2 crore).  

In round 1, 33 channels bought slots for over Rs 538 crore.

The pubcaster has so far earned around Rs 947 crore from the e-auction. The remaining rounds (i.e. rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7) will go up for bidding on March 20.

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Madan Bahal joins enba jury panel

Bahal is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Adfactors PR

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 18, 2023 8:30 AM   |   1 min read

enba

Madan Bahal, Co-Founder and Managing Director of public relations firm - Adfactors PR, has joined the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) jury panel. Over the past 25 years, Bahal has served as a lead communication counsel in many of the milestone events of Corporate India, including fundraises, M&As, disputes, litigations, issues, and crises.

Bahal is known for providing leadership to the Indian PR industry during major events such as the global financial meltdown in 2008, and the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is also a member of the governing council of The Yoga Institute, Mumbai – the world's oldest body of organised yoga teaching.

In September 2022, the Arthur W. Page Society inducted Bahal into its Hall of Fame. In October 2020, PRovoke recognised his firm Adfactors PR as one of the seven global agencies of the decade.

enba was formulated by the exchange4media Group in 2008 with the objective of recognizing the best in television news, and for rewarding industry leaders who have shaped the future of television broadcasting in India. This year, enba is in its 15th edition, and the jury will be led by Sunil Arora, a senior bureaucrat and former Election Commissioner of India.

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