BARC India to install 30% of total barometers in rural India

MUMBAI: The Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC India) is ensuring that it accurately captures ‘what India watches’ and hence is putting in resources to cover not just urban, but rural India as well. In keeping with this, the research body is installing approximately 30 per cent of its ‘barometers’ (people meters) in rural India.


But how will BARC India ensure credible ratings, considering the constant power cuts in rural India? Answers BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta, “Our meters have an inherent capability to store data for up to two months, so in case there are power cuts, we are secure.” The research body is also planning to have 10 per cent buffer homes which will enable them to reduce data vagaries due to any such factor.   


“It is obviously difficult to reach across the rural parts of India, however, it has been a mandate for BARC India to capture ‘what India watches’ and hence it is important to cover that part of India as well,” adds Dasgupta. 


BARC India, is currently busy with its roadshows, where the body is meeting with broadcasters, advertisers, media agencies and consultants, clarifying their doubts and questions. “We are delighted with the positive feedback we have received. People are receptive to change to a system which they believe will be much more robust and reliable,” says Dasgupta.  


The purpose of the roadshows being held in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai is to share with the larger group of stakeholders, BARC India’s current progress, thoughts on sample design and reporting structure. “These sessions enable us to understand the needs of our end customers more closely which will ensure us to fast track the last mile,” he informs.


The roadshows saw discussions looming around the status of the project to-date, initial thoughts on reporting and broad sample designs being presented to the stakeholders.


BARC India is currently testing meters across various parts of India in the most rugged conditions. So by when will the data be rolled out? “The data is being captured for our internal analysis and this will not be published,” he informs. 


Talking about the feedback from the stakeholders, Dasgupta says, “We have got a very positive response. The proof of this lies in the fact that almost Rs 100 crore has been invested additionally by the broadcasters in installing embedders and related systems. They would not have done it if they didn’t believe in the technology selected.”

BARC India is developing its system on a future ready technology “which is two generations ahead than what is being used currently,” he informs.


The body has closed deals with 26 vendor partners across 12 processes involved in the broadcast measurement system, who will contribute to the different moving parts of the system. Giving an update on the current status of the measurement body, Dasgupta informs that most of the bigger networks and channels have ordered their watermark embedders and most of them are installed or being installed. The playout monitoring systems are being tested. The sampling design is almost complete. “We are taking feedback from the stakeholders through a series of roadshows that we are doing,” he says.  

He further adds, “You will appreciate that this will be the largest such audience measurement system globally with cutting edge technology. This requires serious technology and process handshakes all over and then testing. All this is currently underway.”

The audience measurement body which underwent a logo change recently has been subscribed by 250 channels already. “The numbers are going up every week and there has been a smooth progress on installations as well,” adds Dasgupta.


BARC India will provide data to Doordarshan as well.

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