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BARC OOH TV measurement: Will it boost TV viewership and hence advertising?

18-July-2018
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BARC OOH TV measurement: Will it boost TV viewership and hence advertising?

A significant lot of Out of Home (OOH) TV viewing happens at social hot-spots, think restaurants, pubs, and bars, food courts at malls, airports. However, nobody was measuring this crucial audience until the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India came ahead by leveraging its Audio Watermarking technology and proven measurement capabilities to expand TV viewership measurement to OOH.

BARC India’s OOH TV measurement is a pre-subscribed service. Few months down the line, it could prove to be a game changer for the industry as it uncovers a significant share of public TV viewership that wasn’t being measured until now. The TV industry feels that it was a much-needed measurement system which was required to tap the audience that watches TV outside their homes but whether it will bring in more advertisers or how it's going help networks boost the viewership is yet to be explored. The current OOH measurement service tracks viewing across 900+ establishments in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, using 1500+ meters.
“There is always a need to capture and improve measurement systems be it any medium. And if a significant number is being reached but not captured by any medium, steps to reach out and analyze that is a welcome effort,” said Haresh Nayak, MD, Posterscope India.

The first data that BARC reported was in the month April- May, of the total TV viewership coming from Out of Home, Sports accounted for 70 percent of viewership followed by Movies with 10 percent and Music with 8 percent viewership.
The sports genre has stood out from the data that BARC has released. As per the BARC data of week 27, live telecast of 58 matches of FIFA WC gave 41 percent incremental viewership to TV and live telecast of the Indian Premier League garnered 23.7 million Impressions from OOH Viewing, an increment of 8 percent over the viewership generated from TV homes in these markets, in the 15+ TG.

In week 27, (TG: Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, 15 +), in Sports genre, Soccer lead the viewership share with 91 percent followed by Cricket with 8 percent and Wrestling with 1 percent. Genre-wise, Sports led the viewership share with 49 percent followed by music on second with 17 percent and movies with 15 percent on the third spot.

Rohit Raj, Co-founder & Creative Chief, The Glitch, said, “OOH TV measurement is definitely an innovative and much-needed platform of measurement keeping in mind the large number of public viewing portals our cities offer. We will see an expanse in viewership numbers in two main categories, sports and music because OOH consumption of TV is primarily bottled into these two categories. In sports, I hope we are able to see a rise in viewership of other sports beyond just cricket which gives advertisers the confidence that there exist viewers and thus give the category a boost accordingly.”

Echoing a similar thought, Jigar Rambhia, National Director – Sports and Entertainment partnerships, Wavemaker India, added, “We all know that lot of viewing happens out of home and this is specifically for sports event, whether it's IPL, FIFA or any other sporting event which is of high importance. If BARC is able to capture that correctly then I think it's a good thing because it will give us a fair amount of idea as to who are the people watching it outside of their houses.”

Television has traditionally thrived on in-house viewing, and there are not many indicators that suggest this it is going to change dramatically but OOH TV viewing too will become an important measurement system now on. Nayak shared, “It is true that audience is spending significantly higher amount of time out of their homes, and are certainly exposed to viewing of advertising messages as well as content at these ambient locations. These numbers will definitely add to the existing viewership pool.”

Raj believes that it's now an interesting space for advertisers to consider especially with a metric of measurement which is the key to define success based on viewership. A key point to note is that a lot of public viewing is limited to sports and maybe, music. “At most places I have been subject to screens especially in sports bars while I am out with friends, they also have a DJ who plays music the minute the channel breaks for an ad, which kind of negates the whole point of advertising. This measurement just might see the birth of fresh advertising formats being invented for instance, silent ads that communicate objectives without the need for audio etc.”

Rambhia though had a different view. “I don’t think that it will get more advertisers. Definitely, it will give us a better sense of who is watching sports or other genres but it's too early for advertisers to put in additional money due to this. Also, BARC is only sampling in three markets right now and that number is also very small. Once you have a more robust data, that will certainly impact advertisers.”

Expanding the scope of measurement is commendable for sure, whether this will attract more advertisers is anybody’s guess. Nayak said, “With advertisers looking for audience that are seemingly more engaged with mediums and available content, the expanded ecosystem will do well to prove its stickiness in the long run. Yes, historically it’s a proven fact that when genres get new enthusiasts, advertisers tend to follow.”

When BARC announced the OOH measurement system, Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India, had said, “Our aim is to measure different screens and pipes and OOH is an extension of that commitment. There is a large population that consumes content on TV which is outside the bounds of home. We realized that it was important to capture those viewers as well. Before we launched rural viewership, there was blind targeting. But, the inclusion of rural TV viewership helped advertisers uncover the potential of these areas. We are hoping that OOH viewership will help give better insights to advertisers and provide new opportunities.”

Sports is the most viewed genre given the above ratings and Nayak feels that sports accounting for 70 percent of OOH TV viewership is hardly surprising as watching sports events is best done in groups. 
Raj believes that when any new metric of measurement is added, it will definitely see a rise in sports viewership. “Even if it's at home, most times a larger gathering turns up because that boosts up the fun of watching sports. So we will finally be able to capture a more realistic number of sports viewership and realize that maybe cricket isn’t the only crowd puller,” he said.

Nayak currently heads operations under the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) umbrella for Posterscope (OOH), Brandscope (OOH), Ambient OOH, Hyperspace (Retail), InDeed (CSR Advisory) and C-LAB (Celebrity & Sports Management)

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