The Broadcast Audience Research Council, India (BARC) has taken the first step towards building a television audience measurement system that becomes a standard across the globe. To this effect, BARC has called for a global request for information (RFI) seeking to understand the state-of-the art systems and processes particularly in the area of television audience measurement research and audience measurement research in general.
According to Punit Goenka (pictured), chairman-BARC and managing director & CEO, Zee Entertainment, the council is committed to build a TV audience measurement system that becomes the gold standard in its class worldwide. “Given that BARC addresses a population of over 1 billion, of which over 0.6 billion have access to television in some form, I am confident that BARC will settle for nothing less than being the best,” said Goenka.
Television audience measurement in India has been around for nearly three decades. Beginning with a simple diary-based system in the early 1980s covering Doordarshan (then the state-owned monopoly broadcaster) it evolved parallel to the evolution of the Indian TV market.
By the mid-1990s, it was already covering satellite television and in the early part of this century, India was one of the earliest television markets to have a pure Peoplemeter based system.
Shashi Sinha, chairman-TechComm, BARC and CEO-Lodestar UM & CEO-IPG Mediabrands India, said that at various times, more than one vendor has attempted to provide audience measurement.
“However, 2002 onwards, TAM Media Research has been the de facto provider of the measurement currency. Their insights have being widely used by all three stakeholder constituencies for all commercial and marketing decision making. It is clear that legacy architecture of the system, that has evolved incrementally, is now ready for seminal change. However, what is not clear is the contours of the new system, which BARC aims to define,” said Sinha.
The council feels digitisation has brought in huge challenges for audience measurement given the massive expansion in choice of content coupled with accelerating adoption of new technologies. As a result of these developments, content consumption is shifting away from the fixed time chart (FTC) to personal digital appliances, which is totally different from the era when television meant living rooms, common choices and shared family experience.
A good system, according to BARC, rests as much on a sound understanding of the footprint of the medium as it does on continuous tracking of viewing behaviour. Through this RFI, the council is seeking ideas, templates and experiences that will help put together a blueprint for the new TV audience measurement system in the era of digitisation.