MAM

The ball is in the IBF court: AAAI prez Arvind Sharma

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MUMBAI: The ball is in the Indian Broadcasting Foundation‘s (IBF) court and the draft document (incorporating memorandum and articles of association) has been sent to them a while back, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) president and Leo Burnett chairman and CEO of India subcontinent Arvind Sharma told Indiantelevision.com, while dismissing charges that the body was stalling the progress of BARC for setting up a new television ratings system that would be more transparent and representative of the country‘s socio-economic demographics and geographical spread.

IBF president and Star India CEO Uday Shankar admitted the draft has reached the IBF. "But they have not signed it. The issue needs to be treated with more urgency," he said.

Shankar had earlier blamed the AAAI and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) for slowing down the progress of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

Sharma said the need of the hour is to move forward and get BARC rolling. “I can understand Uday Shankar’s eagerness to progress on BARC and frustration on why it is taking so much time. But we have not signed because they have not responded,” he replied.

The government is also pressing for speed and had earlier this year told Parliament that BARC would issue its first report by July 2013, an informal dateline that looks hard to meet. The three stakeholders, IBF, AAAI and ISA, have yet to make BARC operational after announcing in March their equity partnership in the entity. While IBF has 60 per cent stake in BARC, AAAI and ISA hold the balance 40 per cent.

Nagesh Alai, Interface Communications director and the immediate past president of AAAI, believes that it is in everybody’s interest to move BARC forward.

"It seems to be a misconception or a miscommunication or a misinterpretation. Whatever it is, the statement is rather unfortunate and unwarranted. AAAI (and its members ), as custodians of the clients’ monies and scientific allocators of these monies over various media, is as interested in a robust and transparent research and research design. We are keen to get it off the ground quickly, as is IBF. The drafts of the MOA and AOA of BARC, incorporating these agreements, had been exchanged with IBF and this is under discussion and process. AAAI has always believed in working in partnership with other industry bodies in mutuality of interest and good business practices and so will it be going forward. It will continue to work with IBF and ISA to get to a good place. Stalling BARC is in no one’s interest,” Alai remarked.

The recent NDTV lawsuit in New York against TAM Media has also prompted the government to consider a probe into the alleged fudging charges after several complaints from broadcasters.

NDTV has sought damages of $810 million as compensation for loss in revenues suffered over the years and $580 million for negligence by Nielsen and Kantar officials, the owners of TAM.

Meanwhile, TAM India has preferred to maintain its silence. “We don‘t comment on any litigation,” is all that TAM’s spokesperson had stated when media reports broke out about NDTV’s lawsuit against TAM and parent company Nielsen. TAM is a joint venture of Nielsen, Kantar and Cavendish Square Holdings B.V.

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