IBF, ISA and AAAI announce launch of BARC

MUMBAI: The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) Wednesday formally announced the official formation of a nationwide audience research joint body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) will have 60 per cent stake in the new entity, while ISA and AAAI will equally hold the balance 40 per cent.

Originally founded in 2008, BARC was earlier to be set up as a joint venture between the IBF and the ISA on a 60:40 ratio and initial investment of Rs 300 million. However, ISA wanted AAAI also to be a part of the joint body.

The announcement was made at the inaugural day of Ficci Frames 2012 here in presence of I&B Secretary Uday K Varma, Trai chairman Dr JS Sarma, Zee managing director and CEO Punit Goenka, Star India COO Sanjay Gupta, Times Television Network MD and CEO Sunil Lulla, Star CJ CEO Paritosh Joshi, Madison Group chairman Sam Balsara and Landmarc Leisure Corporation MD Paulomi Dhawan.

Talking about the way forward, Joshi said BARC will be similar to what BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) is in the UK. BARC will not conduct audience measurement directly but commission independent specialist research vendors.

A technical committee is being set up, now that all the stakeholders are in place. The committee will identify the needs and requests for proposal will be invited.

“We are not a research agency, and we are not going to compete with TAM. Instead, BARC is a joint body, which will evaluate all the research needs of the industry and in a commercially sensible manner,” Joshi said.

BARC would represent all the clients and address all the issues on a single platform, he added.

The primary objective of BARC is to conduct and commission market research using appropriate research methodologies, to provide accurate, up to date and relevant findings relating to broadcast audiences, including TV ratings.

Earlier in the day, Goenka, during his keynote had mentioned that there is nothing wrong in the data provided by TAM, but it is inadequate.

Joshi said that with the formation of BARC, the quality and scope of TV audience research in the country will get upgraded, the findings will be more robust and financials more transparent.

"The major challenge will be to cover all the broadcasting modes in the research – terrestrial, cable & satellite, DTH, analogue and digital platforms, developing and new platforms," he added.

The Board of the council will have 10 members, six members from the IBF and two members each from the ISA and AAAI.

BARC will engage in extensive industry consultations with stakeholders, specialist research consultants, existing & potential measurement service providers to identify the key concerns and requirements with regards to audience measurement. This may be followed by an R&D exercise to evaluate potential solutions including technologies & techniques.

Dhawan said, “We are always looking for robust research in this rapidly changing television landscape. With time, it is going to be more challenging and you will need more insights from research. We have been working together since some time to launch BARC.”

Added ISA chairman Bharat Patel, “ISA is extremely delighted to be a part of this joint industry body, BARC, along with the IBF and AAAI to provide continued and meaningful research.”

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