Ending months of speculation, the country’s two television ratings providers, BARC India and TAM India, announced the formation of a new meter management company. With 34,000 meters covering the country, the entity will supply raw data to BARC India, which will use its own statistical processes and sampling design. Meters will be deployed based on BARC’s sample design and the ratings will be computed and disseminated through BARC India’s software. These data will give advertisers, broadcasters and agencies accurate and quality measurement.
TAM will no longer provide television ratings under the new arrangement; it will, however, continue to provide its non-TV ratings services to the market, notably AdEx, radio audience measurement, Eikona, PR audit, sports measurement and S-Group Consulting. Punit Goenka, chairman of BARC India, said, “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.”
Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive (South Asia) Dentsu Aegis Network, said, “I think it’s great that BARC & TAM have joined forces for meters because definitely, we don’t need two currencies for television ratings and BARC is the officially accepted ratings currency for the sector to use. More, it is also good that TAM meters will be used 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 at the earliest.”
Broadcasters echo this sentiment. Sudhandhsu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, said, “It is 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.”
As of now, little is known about the future of TAM’s work-force that dealt with data analysis or the costs involved in the merger. During its 16-year stint in India, TAM India has been caught in various controversies. Through the years, the agency has faced complaints of inaccurate data, with the Pranay Roy-led New Delhi Television (NDTV) filing a case of corruption against it in the New York Supreme Court in 2012. Since the launch of BARC’s ratings system in April this year, the sector has been grappling with the issue of two ratings metrics. While most key subscribers (broadcasters) had opted out of TAM, the Kantar- and Nielsen-promoted agency continued to provide data.