Despite the approval by a majority of the Board members to roll back the “four-week rolling average” viewership data for the news genre, BARC India has failed to release the unrolled data.
Following a letter written by the News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) president Avinash Pandey demanding the rollback in December last year, the majority of BARC Board members approved the rollback in late January.
However, highly placed sources alleged that India Society of Advertisers (ISA) president Sunil Kataria blocked and delayed the move for reasons unclear to several stakeholders.
The idea of a four-week rolling average, which was intended to reduce the noise level on a weekly basis by the news channels and on the news channels, was alleged to be distorting the viewership data due to faulty algorithms.
Several representations were made by news broadcasters with BARC questioning the algorithm pertaining to the reach numbers, which exceeded that of general entertainment channels.
Several industry leaders whom BestMediaInfo.com spoke with alleged that BARC is hiding behind this excuse because any inaction suits its comfort zone.
“It does not want to bite the bullet and face any sort of discomfort. This is not even trying out new things. This is only about reversing an experiment which turned out to be a ‘statistics disaster’. For them, it is like “let it be as it is” which is proving to be a death knell for their customers. What kind of ‘timid’ leadership is this which is out to kill its own customers?” said a broadcast executive.
The ratings for the news genre were resumed last year on March 17 following an order by I&B secretary Apurva Chandra.
“Unfortunately, the government is silent on this. If they show interest, things can move faster,” said a senior executive from one of the stakeholders who did not want to be named.
The news broadcasters under the NBDA, who contribute with more than 80% of BARC’s revenue coming from the news genre, questioned if the measurement body was even serious about implementing the board’s approval in letter and spirit.
“What is this excuse? It appears BARC does not care about their customers. NBDA board wrote a letter to BARC CEO and chairman to bring old order of unrolled. This was many months back. They did not even respond to our letter. We were told informally that BARC board agreed to our request, then what are the compelling reasons that they are not implementing it? They must have bigger reason than satisfying their customers,” questioned NBDA president Pandey.