afaqs! news bureau

Set aside BARC data for 6 weeks; ISA's advice to media planners and buyers

afaqs! accessed Indian Society of Advertisers' advisory on TRAI's MRP regime.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) new tariff order (NTO) popularly known as MRP regime has already irked many. The local cable operators (LCO) have been demonstrating against it all across the country. There have been cable TV blackouts in various markets against the proposed revenue sharing model between Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) and the LCOs.

Set aside BARC data for 6 weeks; ISA's advice to media planners and buyers

Service providers are not the only ones who are worried about the new regime, the media planners and buyers are also burning their midnight oil figuring out the repercussions. Industry body, Indian Society of Advertisers have submitted an advisory to its members and other autonomous bodies in the media and entertainment space.

In the advisory signed by Chairman Sunil Kataria, the body mentions, "This is in context of the TRAI New Tariff Order (NTO) that is to be implemented. There would, therefore, be the change in the manner in which consumers can subscribe to TV channels impacting on TV viewership data. As TV is one of the largest mediums to reach our consumers, we, from the ISA executive council and the ISA core media committee, have been in active engagement with BARC board, technical committee and NTO task force over the past few months to arrive at a way forward during this transition period."

According to Broadcast India Survey, conducted by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India the television viewers on an average spends 3 hours and 44 minutes watching the small screen. Out of 298 million homes in India, 197 million have a TV set. The number of individuals watching television in India is estimated to be around 836 million.

afaqs! sourced the ISA advisory, which states TRAI's NTO as a "Sudden development," due to which it has become very difficult to predict the impact, "Considering the fact that the TRAI NTO is across India, its impact will be significantly different in each region given the varied distribution and broadcast landscape of each region. This is nearly similar to what GST implementation was for many of our members. NTO. if implemented in true spirit, is likely to have a shift in channel availability and hence possible consumption landscape also. We will need to give it some time to assess the impact," states the advisory.

Kataria signed letter continued, "While the panel will continue to be represented during the transition period, however, the viewership data will not be usable given the challenges outlined. It will take a minimum of six weeks to asses the stability of the viewership numbers post the implementation of the NTO."

The ISA executive council in its advisory, advised, that the viewership data during the transition period should not be used for media planning, evaluation and buying perspectives. "It should be noted that the variance in pre and post evaluation will be higher than the usual and will be highly unpredictable. Hence pre and post evaluation should be avoided for this period. ISA will work closely with BARC to confirm when the data becomes stable and usable for planning and buying," the advisory concludes.

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