Challenges behind setting up BARC India & the way forward


The launch of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, a joint industry body, in 2015 was one of the biggest developments of the year in the media industry. Its launch was proof that the three stakeholders, namely the broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies could come together and set up a robust and transparent system in the quickest possible time.

The key to BARC India’s successful rollout was in building a strong team along with top-notch vendor partners who understood our needs. The advantage was that we were able to find the right resources who ensured that the smooth ratings rollout happened within the shortest possible time.

BARC India was formed with an aim to bring in robustness and transparency to the whole television viewership measurement system. This was achieved by introducing the sector to the new Watermarking technology for measuring TV viewing habits and also using the New Consumer Classification System (NCCS) for understanding the lifestyle of the viewer. The sector now gets a more inclusive and fair representation of  “What India Watches.

BARC India has been set up at the back of huge expectations from the industry that needed a new TV viewership measurement body, which was representative and robust. This meant that we had to ensure that each and every step by BARC India was being taken in the right direction. It was for this that we decided to make technology our differentiator to give precise and high fidelity ratings. We also opted for a multi-vendor model, instead of a single vendor who could do everything. The reason for this was that we wanted to make the system more robust, high integrity and cost efficient. This has worked in our favour. 

The other big challenge we faced was funding. We innovated here as well and ensured a smooth financial closure without the stakeholders investing cash in the business. 

2015 was the year for the launch of a new television viewership measurement system in the country and now in 2016, we will only grow better and bigger. The first in the pipeline is the rollout of the meter management company, which we had announced last year as a JV with TAM India. The year will see the industry using television viewership data on the go with our new BARC India app. The work on Universe Estimation Study has begun and the findings will throw relevant insights on the landscape of television viewership measurement in the country.   

The year 2016 will see the industry try another innovation christened as VAL-ID (Video Asset Linked ID), which will make life easier for the ecosystem for monitoring and measuring commercials.

After a fruitful 2015, BARC India is all geared up for a great 2016.

(These are purely personal views of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India CEO Partho Dasgupta and Indiantelevision.com does not necessarily subscribe to these views.)

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