BARC to share TV viewership data only with subscribers due to TRAI tariff order implementation

TRAI extends deadline for selection of TV channels to 31 March 2019

MUMBAI: Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has announced it will only share the weekly TV viewership data with those that have subscribed to its service. The audience measurement firm has taken this decision in light of the TRAI’s new tariff order, which kicked in on February 1.

“In light of implementation of TRAI’s new tariff order and on-ground changes BARC India’s viewership data will be released only to its subscribers until further notice,” it said on its website.

The sector regulator on Tuesday extended the deadline for consumers to select television channels under its new tariff regime till 31 March 2019. The TRAI took the call after switch-offs were reported across several parts of the country.

A senior executive of a major broadcaster told, “While TRAI has extended this whole period, they are giving the flexibility to the DPOs to slowly port people and customers without having content disruption. I don’t think this will impact the advertisers; this gives a breather to both broadcasters and their clients,” on the condition of anonymity.

As per Chrome DM, 24 per cent households lost complete access to all pay channels in 10.9 million cable and satellite home in 366 urban cities (340 Chrome DM reported channels).

The senior executive also pointed out that, “NTO deployment is creating massive nightmare for all DPOs, whether it is DTH or cable, so if you see TRAI sent a notice to Airtel because of the outage. The technology is unable to handle the massive data that is getting ported to these boxes. So what’s happening is the technology is collapsing, they don’t know what is happening in the data centres because of which the channels are dropped out.”

Earlier, the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) executive council had advised its members against using the BARC viewership data for media planning, evaluation and buying perspective.

Another executive of an FMCG brand said, “We need to stick to BARC guidelines because that’s the norm or benchmark we have in this country. I think TRAI is also in close conversation with the authorities that how much of migration has happened, how much of it is pending right now and that is why they have extended the deadline to 31 March 2019. Ultimately the system needs to stabilize. Till that time I don’t think the numbers will make any difference to any advertiser.”

ISA believes that it would take a minimum of six weeks to assess the stability of the viewership numbers post the tariff order implementation. It also believed that the impact will be significantly different in each region of the country given the varied distribution and broadcast landscape.

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