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Indian Audience Research Body Approved

July 12 2010

India's plans to set up independent nationwide audience research along the lines of the UK's BARB have taken another small step forward with the formal registration of the new Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

BARC is an umbrella organisation formed to oversee and control the television audience measurement system in India, which aims to find a substitute or alternative to TAM Media Research's peoplemeter system. BARC is a 60:40 joint venture between the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the Indian Society of Advertisers, with an initial investment of Rs 300 million.

Plans for the service were announced way back in 2007, and the following year it appeared to be taking shape with the publication of recommendations by regulator TRAI and the appointment of a Chairman, Chintamani Rao. At the time the sponsors said BARC planned to launch its TV audience measurement system by January 2009: according to the latest announcement, it is now 'expected to begin work within the next few months.'

The methodology for BARC's ratings will be finalised by an eight-member Technical Committee headed by the ISA, with four members apiece from the IBF and the ISA.

BARC will not conduct audience measurement itself but will commission independent specialist research vendors, with current TV ratings firms TAM and aMap likely to be among those tendering. The body aims to provide accurate, up to date and relevant ratings 'without fear or favour in a completely transparent, sustainable and objective manner.'

A baseline study of rural and urban India, testing methodology for audience research, will be conducted after the presentation of a technical report, likely in September. The eventual research package is likely to cover all broadcasting modes, including terrestrial, cable & satellite, DTH, analogue and digital platforms, and developing and new platforms such as IPTV and Mobile TV.

TRAI's web site is at www.trai.gov.in .

All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.

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