Digital measurement has been talk of the advertising and media industry for a long time now. Every digital content provider has its own measurement system and there wasn’t a single body for it yet. The wait came to an end on April 10, 2017 when the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) of India announced the phased rollout of its digital measurement service – EKAM.
EKAM has a suite of products that includes EKAM Pulse, EKAM Beam, EKAM Stream, EKAM Ad-Scan and EKAM Integra. Different products have different purposes. For instance, EKAM Pulse will measure video ad campaigns while EKAM Stream will measure both non-linear and pure play digital video content.
Industry experts suggest that players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are purely subscription based video-on-demand platforms and need not be a part of this system as advertisers and brands do not advertise on these platforms.
BestMediaInfo.com spoke to over-the-top (OTT) players and online content platforms about what they have to say about this launch.
Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head, Digital Business, SPN
Digital advertising spends today are almost Rs 7,000-8,000 crore and this is expected to be Rs 20,000 crore by 2021. This is a rapidly growing ecosystem and there are lot of big players in this who would like to have a unified reporting platform. I think it’s great because all the stakeholders will be able to get their data from one place, whether it is the advertiser or media companies or whether the platforms themselves. It is a great step in the right direction. All of us have sophisticated analytics and tools, and we report all the information to the advertiser. With BARC’s EKAM, the advertiser will have information on view-ability and time he spends on which video and add credibility and give a different view to the world, which will be comparable.
Archana Anand, Head of Digital, India Z5 Business
This is a very positive development, not just for the OTT segment but for the media industry at large. Given the pace at which the digital entertainment industry is growing, it is becoming more and more critical to have a standardised tool for measurement. A common currency for digital measurement will allow OTT players to benchmark their performance better across standardised metrics and catalyse overall growth of the industry. This will also help broadcasters get a holistic and more integrated analysis of their viewership across broadcast and digital media, enabling them to feel a greater sense of ownership rather than feeling that they are losing out to digital.
Gaurav Gandhi, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Ventures, Viacom18
While digital video services are all fully measurable, there is no common industry measurement nor there is any common standard for things like view-ability. Having a common industry measurement will help all industry stakeholders. It will be a big boost to the fast growing digital video business to realise fair values for audience delivery and help the agencies to plan across TV and digital video better (as well as across various digital video services) – as they will now be able to implement true cross-media plans. It will also give more confidence to the advertisers that their audience deliveries are backed by a common industry validated source.
Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO, Culture Machine
Measurement yields transparency, which is great for any industry. Ad revenues as well as interest in the sector are bound to go up. The way things are going, the digital space is already on the frying pan with multiple players jumping onto the content bandwagon. At Culture Machine, we welcome any move that benefits the industry.
Anirudh Pandita, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces
With the secular shift towards content consumption via digital continuing unabated, there is a need for third party measurement tools that allow content creators and advertisers to benchmark and better understand the various metrics that exist across content platforms and formats today.
Although there are publicly available metrics like share rates or comment rates that are fairly indicative of engagement and content performance, there is a broad need for these to be standardised across platforms. Important factors like organic/inorganic reach, minutes viewed, video completion rates and so on are often private and it remains to be seen whether BARC will be able to bring this data out. It is important for BARC to also publish metrics specifically for digital because it (especially pure play digital) is a two-way medium versus television and other mediums, which is set up as a one-way medium. If it is able to publish this data and provide relevant context, then this will be very helpful for all participants in the ecosystem.
Subin Subaiah, Global CEO, Spuul
Being a technology and innovation company we are open to changes and improvements taking place in the eco space. The introduction of such tools to measure viewership and consumption data is highly significant in such times when the OTT market is expanding. With BARC’s EKAM we will be able to understand the viewership trends and behaviour which will further help us tailor make our product and provider a superior viewing experience.