Difference of opinion within BARC on rollout date?

MUMBAI: The silver lining in the TV rating system in India might see dark clouds if Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) chairman Punit Goenka is to be believed.

Goenka showed concerns on the time the new rating system will start operating. Earlier talking to, BARC tech committee chairman Shashi Sinha had stated that the new ratings system should be up and running by 1 October, 2014.

“Everyone is aware of the issue with Indian Readership Survey (IRS) and unless that gets sorted how can we roll out our process,” said Goenka, when quizzed if the launch time for BARC was on schedule. “There would be a delay,” he added.

A committee member, without commenting on Goenka’s concerns, said that the IRS issue is sub judice and hence cannot share data with BARC. “If data isn’t shared with us, how are we going to design the panel?” he questioned. However, he soon highlighted on the fact that the current issue is with the survey done for national publishers and it shouldn’t impact any survey/data needed for television.

Whereas another source refuted any such delay and believes that though IRS has its own sets of problems, there shouldn’t be any issue with BARC. “BARC needs IRS for establishment data, but with minor internal adjustments, everything will fall in place and IRS issue shouldn’t create any material difference to the time-table,” he pin-pointed.

Similarly, another source believes that there shouldn’t be any delay in the rating system to come in place. “Work is in process and in line with the date we had said earlier. And we are hopeful of reaching the due date without any hassle.”

“Why think of a delay? Everything is on schedule,” said a highly placed industry source. “An eight to 10 days delay shouldn’t be called as a delay. A minor variation in the date shouldn't be an issue,” he concluded.

Early this year, in January, BARC had signed a contract with Médiamétrie for a 1+5 year term. The French audience measurement system will be providing the audio watermarking technology to BARC to monitor TV consumption through its 20,000 strong panel.

The funding to put up the new system in place has been divided as follows: 60 per cent Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), 20 per cent ISA and 20 per cent Indian Advertisers Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

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