Television

BARC India to evolve own digital measurement solution as Nielsen partnership ends

BARC roped in Nielsen as its digital measurement partner in 2017

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MUMBAI: In what can be termed as a significant development in India’s media and entertainment sector, the relationship between BARC India and Nielsen has run its course, Indiantelevision.com has learnt. With Nielsen’s exit as BARC’s primary digital measurement partner, the TV audience measurement firm now claims it is evolving its own digital measurement solution.

“BARC India is associated in a strategic partnership with over 500 partners. The aim of such strategic partnerships is to come up with industry solutions that are acceptable to all stakeholders. The goal of Ekam was to arrive at a neutral and independent cross-platform measurement solution. Given our technical prowess we are evolving with our own digital measurement solution,” a BARC spokesperson told Indiantelevision.com

Nielsen was roped in by BARC in July 2017 with a mandate of eventually integrating the TV and digital service.

It was 2016 when BARC India first announced its plans to measure digital viewership and go beyond audience measurement of broadcast media. In April 2017, BARC introduced brand ‘Ekam’ for digital measurement with the hope of launching it by the year-end.

“The partnership with Nielsen was terminated recently,” a source close to the development told Indiantelevision.com.

Nielsen on Monday announced the expansion of advertising measurement on YouTube’s mobile app with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to 26 additional countries including India.

Given that significant investment was made over a three-year period to bolster BARC’s digital arm, critics are now bound to raise several questions. BARC’s digital team, which consisted of around 18 employees spanning verticals such as product, business development, operations and tech, currently stands disbanded.

Can BARC deliver the five Ekam product offerings as promised in their original form? Does evolving its own digital measurement solution include going back to the drawing board? Are we now looking at a significant delay in the roll-out of the service? Will BARC develop a solution in-house or find a replacement for Nielsen? These are some of the questions that remain unanswered for now.

“Digital video content measurement via SDK integration can never be launched in India as YouTube, which counts for 80 per cent of video advertising, is not keen on integrating a third-party SDK. Video streaming platforms too won’t agree as it will not reflect uniformity in content measurement,” said a senior media executive, on the condition of anonymity, reflecting on the challenges of digital measurement in India.

With the ball now in BARC’s court, its next move will be keenly watched. The media and entertainment sector, which desperately desires a cross-media measurement service, is hoping BARC continues to execute its proposed plans on the digital measurement front despite the changes Nielsen’s departure is likely to trigger.

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