The industry has welcomed BARC taking over TAM’s meter business to set up a new meter management company as they foresee robust viewership data with greatly improved reach
Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | August 28, 2015
In a landmark development on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, BARC India and TAM India, jointly owned by Nielsen and Kantar, formed a new meter management company as a joint venture. The company will have the meter assets and panel management operations of the present BARC India and TAM India panels, which will be jointly owned by BARC India, Nielsen and Kantar, with management control resting with BARC India.
To start with, the company will have a total 34,000 meters (including 12,000 currently owned by TAM) covering all of India, and will supply raw data to BARC, which will use its own statistical processes and sampling design. This ratings data will be the sole trading currency for the country, giving advertisers, broadcasters and agencies accurate and quality measurement.
Some of India’s leading advertisers, broadcasters and marketers share their views with BestMediaInfo.com on the BARC-TAM joint venture, the implications for the industry and more as it moves to a truly single-currency ratings regime.
Best Media Info approached these industry leaders with three questions:
1. What is your view on this from an industry perspective?
2. Do you feel that the traditional monopoly of TAM is going to create an even bigger monopoly in the ratings business?
3. Do you foresee Television ratings finally becoming more meaningful for planners/TV channels?
The views expressed are unanimous – that this is the best thing to have happened to the broadcast industry.
Ashish Bhasin, ?Chairman & CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network:
I think it’s great that BARC and TAM have joined forces for the meters because definitely we don’t need two currencies for television ratings, and BARC is the officially accepted ratings currency for the industry to use. Moreover, it is also good that the TAM meters will get utilised because that will help speed up the process of scaling to the meters required for BARC so that the entire country can be quickly covered. We now look forward to robust viewership data, covering the entire country, and are particularly looking forward to rural data commencing at the earliest.
Also, I do not feel that the traditional monopoly of TAM is going to create an even bigger monopoly in the ratings business as TAM was a private organisation, while BARC is an industry-funded organisation, hence it is a non-profit organisation. I feel it is a positive step and monopoly is nowhere an issue.
Whether television ratings finally becoming more meaningful for planners/ TV channels or not, I feel once we start getting the data from rural markets, it will be more meaningful as then we would have clarity on what the actual India watches.
Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World:
This is a step in the right direction and achieves multiple objectives at one stroke. Firstly, it eliminates possible confusion in the market because of two currencies; secondly, it enables BARC to scale up cost effectively by putting the additional meters to good and effective use; thirdly, it enables BARC to have ready access to trained people in the field; and lastly, it ensures that a large number of people don’t go jobless. There are sufficient checks and balances in place to ensure that BARC in course of time will discharge its responsibilities honourably.
MK Anand, Managing Director & CEO, Times Network:
It is good for the industry. The lingering presence of alternate data will be removed. The panel expansion can probably happen faster with the additional boxes. I feel that the traditional monopoly of TAM is not going to create an even bigger monopoly in the ratings business. BARC is an industry joint initiative. Even if it is a monopoly, it won’t become detrimental as it does not have profit objective. And I don’t feel that ratings were less meaningful till now.
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18:
It is very good news for the Indian broadcasting industry. With BARC consolidating all the video audience measurement assets, we are happy that stakeholders will have a greatly improved view on reach and impact. The aggregation of people meters and panel management powered by BARC’s technology gives us an effective measurement system that expedites the solution on geographical coverage, sample size, and rural-urban reporting.
Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive VP - Head Marketing, Product, Analytics, Digital & E-Commerce, HDFC Life:
It could be a beneficial move as BARC has come with a more robust 34,000 meters, which can add more stability and sanctity to the ratings. For the longest time it was the prevailing opinion that the sample size used was not sufficient. With this move, BARC has the advantage to leverage TAM’s expertise (present in India for over 15 years) in terms of managing field work and data.
As far as monopoly goes, there is no question of that as BARC has the final authority to analyse and release the ratings to the industry. Besides, it is promoted by the advertisers (Indian Society of Advertisers and Advertising Agencies Association of India) and broadcasters (Indian Broadcasting Foundation), thus everyone’s interest should be protected.
Yes, BARC represents better the current ecosystem and is more relevant. Its SEC classification is updated. It already captures HD viewership. Further, it is slated to soon capture rural viewership, multiscreen data through watermark technology and so on, all of which will help both advertisers and broadcasters.
Sundeep Nagpal, Founder-Director, Stratagem Media:
A much larger base of 34,000 meters (more than double of what this country has seen so far) can only have a favourable outcome – since advertisers, media practitioners and especially, niche channels, have been asking for this for more than one-and-a-half decades now. And yet, perhaps there could be a few relatively minor issues that still need to be resolved, such as how to marry the TV AdEx data with the viewership ratings in order to evaluate a brand campaign, and whether all this has to be paid for separately, and so on.
Another aspect is that subscribers would hope that the overall cost does not spiral skyward.
On the monopoly front, I feel that it would remain for some more time. But it’s unlikely that the after affects of this monopoly are going to be unfavourable, since BARC is an industry-supported venture – more so, if it is run as a true ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.
On television ratings finally becoming more meaningful for planners/ TV channels, I feel that the increase in installation base is certainly a step in the right direction, but for the study to be robust, various other aspects of research design (such as sampling, etc.) play an integral role so as to capture the divergent reality of viewership as accurately as possible.
All said and done, it’s always fun to compare findings from two different sources and try and attribute causes to the differences – as indeed would happen even with the NRS and IRS, while they co-existed till a few years ago. Now, unfortunately, that wouldn’t happen any longer.
Anita Nayyar, ?CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media:
The JV seemed inevitable. We almost saw this coming. The integration will make the output more robust. TAM’s expertise will only add value. It is always good to have one measurement system which is robust and accurate. Since the broadcasters have opted for the new measurement, it should have a positive impact on the industry and hopefully, more effective for the planners.