'Common standard' good to measure 'unbundled' viewership & ads cost-effectiveness: EKAM

MUMBAI: BARC India has announced the phased roll-out of its much-awaited digital measurement service. 

EKAM Pulse will measure video ad campaigns and will be the first digital offering to be rolled out by BARC India. EKAM Beam, the next product lined up for release, will measure linear broadcast that is viewed on a Digital device. EKAM Stream, will measure both non-linear and pure play digital video content. BARCIndia will also provide industry with EKAM Ad-Scan – which will be a global first-of-its-kind product. 

EKAM Integra - will help industry with common, robust and independent audience numbers that will give more accurate incremental reach figures. To do this,BARC India’s TV data will be tied with Digital Video data with the help of Single-Source and Digital Booster panels on top of the census measurement and big data.

www.indiantelevision.com spoke to a cross-section of the industry on the new scale. Sony Pictures Networks India EVP and Head – Digital Business Uday Sodhi, and Dekkho co-founder Tanay Desai both find the proposed new system interesting. 

Speaking on the announcement, Sodhi said, “While digital advertising spends in India have witnessed exponential growth over the past couple of years, measuring the cost-effectiveness of video advertisements across TV and digital properties has been one of the biggest pain points for brands in India. The launch of EKAM by BARC India comes as a very welcome development in such a scenario. Not only will it allow advertisers to analyze quantifiable differences in video ad impressions, but will also allow them to see unique and de-duplicated reach and frequency across multiple platforms to accurately ascertain the ROI. It will enable fairer pricing for both advertisers and publishers, and will allow for incremental ad revenues for platforms which provide the maximum consumer reach and impressions. Looking forward to the market launch of the EKAM suite of products and the disruption it will bring in the digital ad industry.”

On the launch of the BARC digital measurement tool, Zee Entertainment Z5 Business head of digital - India Archana Anand said:

“This is a very positive development, not just for the OTT segment but for the media industry at large. Given the pace at which the digital entertainment industry is growing, it is becoming more and more critical to have a standardized tool for measurement. A common currency for digital measurement  will allow OTT players to benchmark their performance better across standardized metrics and catalyse overall growth of the industry. This will also help broadcasters get a holistic and more integrated analysis of their viewership across broadcast and digital media, enabling them to feel a greater sense of ownership rather than feeling that they are losing out to digital.“

Viacom18 digital venture's COO Gaurav Gandhi: said While digital video services are all fully measurable, there is no common industry measurement nor is there common standard for things like viewability.

Having a common industry measurement will help all industry stakeholders. It will be a big boost to the fast growing digital video business to realize fair values for audience delivered and help the agencies to plan across TV and digital video better (as well as across various digital video services) – as they will now be able to implement true cross media plans. It will also give more confidence to the advertisers that their audience deliveries are backed by a common industry validated source.”

Dekkho co-founder Tanay Desai replied to indiantelevision.com queries:

Was it eagerly awaited? How do you see it?

Tanay Desai: BARC 's Ekam measurement system was eagerly awaited given the lack of transparency in Indian digital media. Today, advertisers on mainstream platforms are often unaware about their exact spends, resulting into 60% inaccuracy in reporting at times. The common denominator for measurement will be challenging to implement -- in terms of defining what makes a view, along with specialised metrics for mobile and web for demographic measurement.

Which are the other methods you have been using?

Tanay Desai: In-house analytics along with trusted and verified third party vendors to track activity on video, channel and page level. Metrics include engagement, source of session, demographic and geographic data. Dekkho allows advertisers to associate with individual videos, channels and pages of content unlike a fully automated/programmatic allocation system. This ensures brand safety and correct targeting while optimising use of media spends for brands aiming for specific audiences.

How would it give a fillip to the ecosystem?

Tanay Desai: OTTs that belong to production houses often sell inventory on a bundled basis. i.e. - TV + digital. This results into little transparency regarding actual views on digital. With the new system in place, digital viewership measurement will be isolated from TV be it a production house backed OTT or an independent aggregator. On the other hand, OTT players themselves will command higher CPMs through superior audience targeting. Media agencies and buyers will have relative knowledge i.e. - compare one OTT's offering with its peers while spending on behalf of clients.

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