The newly formed
joint industry body (JIB), Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), with representation from the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), will now evaluate various research agencies for television measurement. This new body, a nonprofit organisation, will oversee and control the TV audience measurement system in India.
Over the next few weeks, BARC will finalise the specifications, process and business model that it will adopt for TV audience measurement research and the nature of financing.
BARC is an entity similar to JIB, except for the fact that it now has a representative from the ISA.
But Sam Balsara, who represents AAAI in the new JIB, says, "That's not correct. The previous JIB was not a formally constituted body."
Balsara also points out that the previous JIB had appointed TAM for television measurement, but there was no formality in the structure. But now, the industry needs more robust and qualitative research to be done under new sets of specifications. Hence the need for a new research agency.
BARC will now evaluate research agencies. It will first lay down briefs with specifications related to the sample size, strategy, the number of towns, and so on. This research agency could be either global or local.
So does this mean that TAM will be totally out of the game? Balsara preferred to keep things under wraps as of now. "We are exploring options and are willing to work with a single research house for obtaining required data, or we may consider working with multiple research agencies. The objective is to provide accurate, up to date and relevant research relating to television and other audio/video media including, but not restricted to, TV ratings, in a completely transparent and objective manner and at a reasonable cost to users."
BARC will operate from an independent secretariat located in Mumbai. The secretariat will be headed by a media, marketing or research professional with adequate experience and expertise to oversee and run a large study involving thousands of meters generating millions of bits of data every day. The board of directors is currently in the process of identifying and appointing the CEO.
When contacted, senior executives of TAM welcomed the initiative and said that this move by the industry body would only strengthen the media scenario in India.