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Will continue to measure viewership of landing page, says BARC India after TDSAT ruling

The joint industry body tells BestMediaInfo.com that any action regarding placing non-watermarked content on landing page, or similar solutions has to come from, and implemented by broadcasters with the cooperation of DPOs

Reacting to the TDSAT ruling on landing page, Television viewership measurement body BARC India has maintained that any viewing arising out of channel placed on LP will also be reported in the weekly data – and any changes in viewership (whether peaks or troughs) arising out of LPs will reflect in the final output.

In an email interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, a BARC India spokesperson said that any action regarding placing non-watermarked content on landing page, or similar solutions has to come from, and implemented by broadcasters with the cooperation of DPOs.

On the issue of excluding the viewership data for first tune-in, the joint industry body referred to a logical technical issue while denying any such possible action.

Excerpts:

Random peaks from small operators will result in crazy output. How will you deal with it?

We will need to be compliant with TDSAT ruling, which effectively allows DPOs to run “Landing Page” (LP) activity unless someone further challenges the ruling. Therefore any viewing arising out of channel placed on LP will also be reported in the weekly data – and any changes in viewership (whether peaks or troughs) arising out of LPs will reflect in the final output. Industry too will have to accept the published data as it too needs to be compliant with the TDSAT ruling.

It may be fair considering landing as a marketing tool, but why should the viewership for that marketing exercise be added in overall channels’ ratings?

We have maintained that placement of a channel on “Landing Page” improves “opportunity to view” i.e., probability of it being sampled by larger audience. However, viewership is a factor of number of people who viewed it and time spent viewing it. Having said that, we feel the question of “fairness” of the tool, and its influence on viewership has to be seen in context of the TDSAT ruling, and all the repercussions of that decision.

Industry feedback is that the content on landing page should not be watermarked. How much is this viable and who could do this?

Placing channels on “Landing page” is a pure distribution level activity involving broadcasters and distribution platform operators. Any action regarding placing non-WM content on LP, or similar solutions has to come from, and implemented by Broadcasters with the cooperation of DPOs. BARC has no locus standi on that. Our mandate is to accurately measure what India watches capturing viewership as it happens, and report it faithfully, which we will continue to do so.

You may also be aware that STB configurations are not standardized in India, and therefore behave differently depending on type or make. That adds another complication in finding a “fit all” solution.

BARC knows the viewership coming from first tune-in. Why can’t that data be reported separately if it crosses a certain threshold say if first tune-in is more than 5% of overall viewership for a channel?

We are a responsible Joint Industry Body, and our measurement system and processes have been guided by our Technical Committee, with the consensus and support of all stakeholders – as represented through their stakeholder bodies. Many set-top boxes tune back to last watched channel as the first channel when switched on again. Any change should also not impact genuine viewing.

Channels are more likely go the landing way because it gives them ratings advantage. Once BARC begins calling out the landing data or stops measuring it, it will truly become a marketing tool and not a machine for viewership spike. Don’t you think this will bring sanity?

The landing page aims at increasing the opportunity to see for a channel. For the viewership to be impacted, the viewer would also have to spend a certain amount of time on the landing page channel for him to be counted as a viewer. This is entirely the viewer’s discretion. We are going to report what India watches.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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