Television audience measurement body Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released the ratings for the news genre after 17 months. The ratings were released today for the period of Week 7 to Week 10.
BARC India is calling it ‘Augmented Data Reporting Standards for News and Special Interest genres’.
What are BARC India’s Augmented Data Reporting Standards?
Paritosh Joshi, principal, Provocateur Advisory, also says he would endorse four-week data over a week. “It will help smoothen out volatility. Plus, this kind of ‘trend line buying’ is not new to media buyers all its fx liquidity provider . They are used to making buying decisions based on multiple weeks data, rather than data for one particular week.”
Shashi Sinha, CEO, India, Mediabrands also lauds the decision. “Whole thing has been done for the stability of data. I floated this a few years back and finally it is implemented.”
Speaking about trend line buying, Sinha says, “Ideally trend-line is 8-13 week period but it would be too harsh on broadcasters with so much happening in the world, with Russia-Ukraine War going on.”
But, rolling a four-week average would also mean that no channel will know what happened in one week. Also, under the Augmented Data Reporting Standards for certain outlier events, the audience estimates may be averaged out. Now, to address the issue, BARC has come up with a solution called CER. It is called ‘Customized Event Reports’.
What will CER do?
Is it watertight?
“Ratings should help you have currency,” says Sinha.
But television audience measurement in India has been marred with controversies for many years now with some high profile ones including the ‘cash for ratings’ scam allegedly involving top executives of a private news channel. The police had alleged that the ratings were being rigged by inducing the homes where the monitors were placed.
Hence, the larger question is will all these efforts make the ratings ‘watertight’ for a genre such as news?
Joshi says you set a trap and the mouse learns to beat it. “For the system to work, all participants in research should ensure no one is fooling around. But some will find a way to beat it. Nothing is watertight. Water finds a way out. It is a semicolon in the process. There will be vulnerability and gaps in the process. But right now, just give it a chance.”
Sinha says the industry has to be mature and not run behind No.1 position. “That is where pressure comes, you start cutting corners, and you do wrong things when ego comes into play in the need to be number one.”
In spite of the challenges, Karani thinks the system is a clever balance between mitigating the data fluctuations on account of the relatively smaller base and dynamic consumption whilst still capturing the viewership fidelity of each channel.
Finally, apart from new data coming out each week, starting March, BARC India will also release data for the previous 13 weeks, i.e., for the period of Week 49, 2021 to Week 9, 2022, only for the channels that have not chosen to opt out from receiving this data, which will also be based on a four-week rolling average. This data will be released over the next three working days. According to sources, many news channels have actually opted out from receiving this data.
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