afaqs! news bureau

We have concerns about TV viewership measurement: Aroon Purie, India Today Group

A week after Zee Media pulled out of the Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC), Aroon Purie of the India Today Group said he too has concerns over the measurement of TV viewership.

Purie who was in Mumbai to deliver the AAAI Subhas Ghosal Memorial Lecture spoke about TV viewership measurement, regulations imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the pricing of channels and the state of Indian television news. 

“We have concerns about TV viewership measurement,” said Purie, chairman and editor-in-chief, India Today Group. He said that the India Today Group is in talks with BARC to address these concerns. “Any industry (body) needs constant improvement and updating. Predicting TV viewership in such a large market is a challenge. We need to look at the mistakes and evaluate what needs to be taken out,” he added. 

Earlier in March, New Delhi Television (NDTV), pulled out of BARC. The group which runs English and Hindi news channels felt that the sample size of measurement needed to be increased. Zee Media has exited its subscription to the TV viewership measurement service over BARC measurement of landing page viewership and is seeking a larger sample size. 

BARC has a sample size of 44,000 meters to measure a TV viewership universe of 210 million TV homes (2021). 

Purie also made a strong case against TRAI’s tariff orders to regulate TV channel pricing. He said, “It seems that the government of today thinks that it is a constitutional right for our citizens to get cheap cable connection. This is just political populism.” Purie added that because the share of subscription revenue is much less than international standards this regulation to keep prices low results in a heavy dependence on advertising. 

“Charging for content on digital platforms is a big ask; it is a long haul,” Poorie said, speaking about the weak monetisation prospects of content that is distributed through digital platforms. “Companies are burning dollars to chase cents,” he said commenting on how companies spend huge sums of money on creating content for digital. 

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