Evaluation of RFPs for BARC to be held from 14 August

NEW DELHI: The Evaluation Panel of the Technical Committee of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) will meet from 14 to 17 August in the hill station of Lonavla (close to Mumbai) to evaluate the responses to the Requests for Proposal (RFPs) received from 27 organisations. BARC had earlier received a total of 32 requests from different technology and research organisations for joining the process of television viewership monitoring. The committee has accepted 27 of these. Two of them - one technical and the other research - will make it to the finishing line.

"Some parties may have responded to both RFPs. Some may have sent in only the technical or research RFP," says BARC principal provocateur/advisor Paritosh Joshi.

Joshi, who represents the broadcasters' interests in the 12-member technical committee in BARC adds that "The entire evaluation process would be completed by November and the names of the two parties would be made public by December."

BARC hopes to commence sending out television viewing audience research reports by the summer of next year. "We expect that in the first phase, the number of households will go up from the present 10,000 to 20,000, ensuring a proper balance of rural and urban areas," he adds.

The present intention of the committee is to develop studies every six months. "But this can vary with time," he informs.

BARC as part of its endeavour to share the latest updates with all constituents hosted its open house today in New Delhi. This was the second of the series of interactions that BARC plans to hold. Approximately 70 people representing the broadcasters, advertisers and agencies attended the meet.

Addressing the meet, Joshi stressed that BARC would not be a research body but a development organisation, He also updated the participants on the work done so far, the work planned, and a wish list of things that BARC hopes to achieve in the future.

BARC has claimed that this was one of the largest tender ever floated for audience measurement anywhere in the world. The tender terms state that each vendor has to work with whomsoever BARC wants it to work with. This is to ensure system integration, keeping in mind the involvement of multiple vendors.

"We are attempting to move from active metering where individuals are given people's meters to passive metering where technologies like apps or even cameras inbuilt in TV sets and other devices will be used. Technology will now play a major part since television viewing is no longer confined to TV sets but to tablets, computers, fablets, mobiles and so on," informs Joshi.

BARC has made it clear in its RFPs' that it wanted a screen and technology agnostic measurement. "BARC wants to minimise human intervention in processing data," reveals Joshi.

While the attempt is to report audience research on a weekly basis, BARC has recognised that there are some channels that could not be reported on a weekly basis, and so these channels can be reported quarterly. "BARC will give unduplicated quarterly reach since there is no other number available for these channels," he informs.

Currently an establishment study is underway which covers 2.4 lakh households. For this, BARC has used the census of India and electoral rolls, since there was no other database available.

Clarifying the role of the technical committee, Joshi said, "Besides evaluation of the proposals for the new audience measurement system, the BARC technical committee will carry out due-diligence exercises on a regular basis once data starts flowing. Since audience measurement research is not stationary, it is evolving continuously; the technical committee will drive the evolution."

The technical committee is autonomous of the BARC board. "The technical committee decides what the research needs. For the board to override a decision that the technical committee has made requires it to have a 75 per cent majority," he says.

Referring to his wish list, Joshi hopes that the studies are cloud-based with broadcast data available on apps.

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