India’s only and the world’s largest television audience measurement currency set up and adopted by three industry bodies — IBF, AAAI and ISA — could go through a sea change. The industry observers are anticipating the changes after Sunil Lulla replaced Partho Dasgupta as BARC India CEO and the industry is abuzz with the new management’s plans.
Hinting in that direction, Uday Shankar, President of Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and Chairman of Star and Disney India, first hit out against the present television audience measurement currency, saying that the legacy TV measurement was not doing justice to, unfortunately, what's happening, how people are consuming, and then said that sample-based measurement will change.
“There is not enough data. In today’s day and time when Hotstar can tell you exactly in which village a viewer is watching how much, it is still sample-based for TV. And the data is widely extrapolated, interpolated and mutilated. We need to move on and create a currency which is scientific, robust, transparent and gives complete visibility to all the stakeholders,” he added.
Shankar was speaking at an event after launching the India Watch Report 2019 by Star India’s OTT platform Hotstar.
When asked by the reporters on the sidelines of the event about the absence of uniformity in viewership claims by OTT players as some claim higher watch time while some claim monthly or daily active users to prove their superiority, Shankar said that it was very early days for this medium. “Once the narrative gets clear for everyone, industry-based consensuses will emerge,” he said.
Shankar avoided saying anything more on a standard measurement currency for OTT and returned to the topic of TV measurement. He said, “We are co-owners of BARC and we actively created it. But that was a very different time when technology did not give you the option to do anything different. You took a sample and said you couldn’t measure it more accurately. But today, that is not relevant because you have the opportunity to measure everybody. If the advertiser is getting full universe for some of the other products and here you are giving him only a sample, you are hurting. So that will change.”
With arguably the most powerful executive in Indian media and entertainment industry hinting at changes in the television viewership measurement currency, all eyes will be on the new management at BARC India, as to how and when it rolls out the changes.