TAM-BARC India JV: The King is dead, long live the King

MUMBAI: Merely four months after the new television ratings measurement body Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India entered the fray, the battle of matrices saw a happy ending today (27 August) as Television Audience Measurement (TAM) gracefully bowed out of the ratings race.

Seeing more wisdom in forming a joint venture with its now erstwhile competitor BARC India, TAM joined hands with it to form a meter management company.

Industry Cheers Move

The move has brought much cheer from the industry as this means a unified single ratings sans any confusion week on week. Moreover, this move will benefit broadcasters and advertisers alike. spoke to multiple industry stakeholders to get their first reactions on the coming together of TAM and BARC India. Here’s what they had to say:

     Viacom18 Group CEO Sudhandhsu Vats

     “It’s very good news for the Indian broadcasting industry. With BARC consolidating all the video audience measurement assets, we are happy       that stakeholders will have a greatly improved view on reach and impact. The aggregation of people meters and panel management powered by       BARC’s technology gives us an effective measurement system that expedites the solution on geographical coverage, sample size, and rural-           urban reporting.” 

ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka  

“This partnership is a big step forward and in this era of cooperation, we welcome this move forward as a joint industry body. The technology and methodological prowess of BARC, combined with the extra meters and the field force will definitely help the industry progress.”

R K Swamy Hansa Group chairman Srinivasan K Swamy

“It's a good development. It has become a larger sample and a more robust study. The techcom is strong in BARC and I am sure they will seamlessly integrate the inputs from two sources to great advantage.”

Times Network CEO and MD M K Anand  

“It's a great move. The new system has launched quite well. The usual teething troubles are mostly getting addressed. The lingering presence of the erstwhile measurement system as a shadow was confusing. There have been faint mentions of TAM by clients and that chatter needed to end. With this move, the industry is truly and completely on BARC. The additional boxes and some talent from the older system will surely help in getting to maturity quicker. All in all, a great move for the industry and the two players.”

Madison World and Madison Communications founder, chairman and MD Sam Balsara

“This is a step in the right direction and achieves multiple objectives at one stroke:

1.       It eliminates possible confusion in the market because of 2 currencies

2.       It enables Barc to scale up cost effectively by putting the additional meters to good and effective use

3.       It enables Barc to have ready access to trained people in the field

4.       It ensures that a large number of people don’t go out of their jobs

There are sufficient checks and balances in place to ensure that Barc in course of time will discharge its responsibilities, honourably.”

 Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia chairman Ashish Bhasin

“I think it’s great that BARC and TAM have joined forces for the meters because definitely we don’t need two currencies for television ratings and BARC is the officially accepted ratings currency for the industry to use. Moreover, it is also good that the TAM meters will get utilised because that will help speed up the process of scaling to the meters required for BARC, so that the entire country can be quickly covered. We now look forward to robust viewership data, covering the entire country, and are particularly looking forward to rural data commencing soonest.”

To start with, the new JV company will have 34,000 meters covering all of India, and will supply raw data to BARC, which will use its own statistical processes and sampling design. The details of the formation and roll out of this new company will be shared in the coming weeks.

After an unrivalled run of almost 17 years in the Indian broadcast space, TAM Media Research, which started its function way back in 1998 with the mandate to work neutrally, will now no longer be rolling out television ratings.

To say “The King is dead, long live the King” would be an apt proclamation to summarise this latest development.

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