BARC India to halt analogue measurement from July, up overall data collection

NEW DELHI: India’s audience measurement company Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC India) will stop reporting on analogue TV homes’ data from 1 July 2017 with the exception of one State and will add homes with new boxes to augment data collection.

“We will also stop reporting all analogue homes across the country with the exception of Tamil Nadu from 1July 2017,” BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta told, adding that hopefully the South Indian state too would soon come within the ambit of normal measurement process.

The move to stop collecting and make available analogue home audience data seems to be aimed at nudging distribution platforms to stop analogue signals and a big hint to TV channels that in a digitized India it was best to go the digital way.

Dasgupta, who was interacting with in an exclusive interview on the occasion of BARC India’s second anniversary, while dwelling on temporary hiccups, said, “With the current digitization mandate for Tamil Nadu, hopefully, analoguereporting will also stop soon there too. All this may lead to some interim flux, but in the long term will improve robustness of our viewership data.”

The Tamil Nadu-Government run Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) was granted provisional digital license by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in April 2017 to operate as a multi-system operator in the state. The late clearance was based on a rider that the MSO switches off analogue signals in the entire state within three months.

As part of a wide-ranging interview, Dasgupta informed that BARC India’s annual exercise, which is also part of a government mandate, will also see new meter homes (called BAR-o-meters) added this calendar year.

“This year we will see our (pan-India measurement) panel expanding from 20,000 to 30,000 reporting homes,” Dasgupta said, adding, “Combined with the newly added homes, we will also be seeding some new homes as part of our regular churn policy.”

The government while giving clearance to BARC India, a joint venture amongst IBF, AAAI and the Indian Society of Advertisers, had made it clear that the number of homes used for data collection should reach 50,000 within a five-year period. BARC India’s predecessor was TAM India, a joint venture between global companies Nielsen and WPP-owned Kantar Media.

Confirming an earlier new story on BARC exploring avenues to collaborate with Indian DTH platforms for return path data (RPD) to augment data collection, Dasgupta said, “We are trying to innovate (with) panel expansion by tying up directly with key DTH and digital cable operators to enable return path (audience) data.”       

Without disclosing a time-frame for such data-boosting tie-ups with DTH ops, Dasgupta explained, “Our tie-up with DTH operators and MSOs for RPD is an attempt (to bring about more robustness). This will not only increase the number of sample panel homes, but will also make infiltration efforts ineffective. We will innovate more on the meter technology front.”

Stay tuned for the full interview of Dasgupta, which will be on air soon.


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