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No ratings data for 6 months for offending broadcasters

BARC India will impose the penalty if a broadcaster is caught tampering with the measurement data

Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy | Mumbai | March 25, 2015


Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is all set to roll out the television audience measurement data in the coming weeks. Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India, informed BestMediaInfo that the organisation would penalise broadcasters if they are caught tampering with the data collection process. Ratings for a period of six months will not be recorded for the offending broadcasters.

Partho Dasgupta Partho Dasgupta

“If a broadcaster is caught tampering with the data, the license agreement stipulates that they will not receive any ratings for six months. That is enough of a deterrent for any broadcaster who depends on advertising monies,” Dasgupta added.

Elaborating on the efforts undertaken to ensure tamper-proof data, Dasgupta said, “One of the biggest complaints for the existing system is that you can very easily break it and use it to your advantage. The whole approach for BARC is that the tech guys would see the data, but they won’t know where it is from. The research guys actually know where it is from, but they don’t get to see the data at all. Even within the research team, there are different sets of people.”

“The process has been set up in such a way that nobody can access the entire list of 22,000 households or even an entire zone’s list. Moreover, all the 600 field professionals have been vigilance checked to understand their socio-economic indicators. We had taken off 109 people from what Hansa had originally proposed. We can cross-check their data at any point in time,” he added.

Sharing more information about the software-led validation process put in place, Dasgupta noted that predictive analysis methods would be used to analyse any unpredictable behaviour. “The moment we figure out that there is an outlier, we have a vigilance team that starts tracking that home. Moreover, with the buffer meters that we are deploying, we will stop pinging data from a particular meter and remove it from the panel, if we have the smallest of suspicion,” he added.

Summing up the process, he remarked, “Ultimately, we have fool-proofed it 99%, but because people are involved, that 1 per cent will always be there.”

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