Developing a new television audience rating system is a long, arduous and costly process. It has required as a prerequisite that the three major stakeholders – IBF, AAAI and ISA come together under one umbrella (BARC) and agree on a process acceptable to all three parties to ensure this major initiative is accepted by all stakeholders. The industry expects to be well along in implementing this new measurement system by the end of 2013.
The goal of BARC is to bring about transparency in the measurement system, greater accuracy while maintaining cost efficiencies and more checks and balances by separating responsibilities in the measurement process as well as countering fraud through rigorous ground monitoring. The industry recognises that no sampling technique can be 100 per cent accurate but seeks to reduce the sampling error and overcome to the extent possible the laws of small samples.
The first step in the process is to create a transparent establishment study from which the universe can be projected that will be owned by BARC and available to all stakeholders. To this end, an RFI has been issued and based on the responses, an RFP will follow. Once a firm is selected, approximate 350,000 to 450,000 households on a nationwide basis will participate in an extensive survey that will take 6 – 8 months to complete.
The establishment survey will form the base for the required number of measurement homes which are likely to exceed 25,000 nationwide. Once the number is finalised, new RFPs will be issued to select a vendor for the measurement system, and vendors for data collection and analysis and reporting. Breaking apart these tasks amongst different vendors is expected to bring greater accountability and transparency and build the most robust audience measurement system in the world. Ongoing ground monitoring will ensure that the system is not compromised over time.
Given the expense of setting up the system, the time required and the fact that all stakeholders buy into ‘BARC’, the industry expects the BARC measurement system will become the single measurement system in India. This is typical of worldwide audience measurement where generally a given market has only one accepted measurement currency.