Indian TV audience measurement body BARC has launched its measurement service, and rolled out the first set of results.
Proclaiming 'a momentous day in the history of Indian television that will change how content consumption will be monitored and measured', BARC boasts that its key shareholder bodies - the IBF, AAAI and ISA - have managed to launch 'in 2 years' what would have taken 'countries across the world ... at least 5-6 years'.
Initially, BARC India says it is releasing data based on a sample of 10,760 households in the larger markets (1 lakh+, a lakh being 100,000); with the addition of the smaller markets the sample size will rise to 20,000. The service uses watermarking technology covering more than 300 channels, and BARC says content planners and advertisers 'will find it more objective as it captures the affluence parameters of a household'.
BARC (the Broadcast Audience Research Council) was formed to oversee and control television audience measurement in India. It was set up after some broadcasters complained of inaccuracies and anomalies in data provided by what until now was India's only audience measurement agency, TAM Media Research, a 50:50 joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Media. TAM has continued to provide ratings for the last 15 months despite the publication of government guidelines in January 2014, stipulating that no investor can hold more than 10% equity holdings in both a TV ratings agency and a broadcaster or advertising company in the country; and that national ratings services should have a minimum sample size of 20,000. TAM, clearly excluded by both of these sudden requirements, has challenged the application of the guidelines and has been allowed to continue with the service while the hearing is continually postponed: the latest court appearance is scheduled for a week's time. If enforced immediately, the guidelines would have left the country without audience currency for most of last year.
In its latest statements, BARC says it makes 'Security and Vigilance' a priority, using 'as many as 28 partners' across its key processes covering information gathering and processing, and applying the principle of 'the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing'. DRNO often hears complex surveys compared to juggling or cooking, and we await with interest the results of attempting such an exercise with 28 hands, none of which know what the others are doing - we'll be impressed if BARC can keep the balls in the air and the smoke alarm from going off repeatedly.
Web site: www.barcindia.co.in .