Anil Thakraney: TV research needs BARC. And bite

03 Aug,2012

By Anil Thakraney


I am aware the debate on television ratings studies must be pouring through your eyes and ears. More thoughts have been expressed on this issue than there are metered households in India, hehe. Anyway, I just want to make a couple of quick points. So bear with me.


There are two things that need to happen, now that most constituents accept that the current measurement system has failed. (And not just failed, the process is ridden with ugly controversies.) What the industry needs to do is to go back to square one and start the process all over again. If BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) is going to be looking into this, so be it. But they need to hire personnel who are respected for their integrity and intellect, and they need to make the process totally transparent. The NDTV court case should be used as an opportunity to show the whole world how TV viewing data can be collected honestly and effectively. There are enough brains in the Indian media to make this possible.


The other issue concerns funding. When I met Lodestar’s Shashi Sinha earlier this year, we discussed the problems associated with TV research. This is what he said, and I quote: “Someone has to put money on the table, it’s as simple as that. The solutions are all known, I know very bright and talented people in research, what needs to be fixed is known. The problem is: No one is wiling to invest. Today, if television measurement costs Rs20 crores, what if Rs100 crores was spent on it? So it’s nothing but lack of funds.”


Sinha is a veteran in the world of media buying, so we have to listen to him. And he makes sense. If the industry wants lakhs of households to be metered (as against the current figure of a few laughable thousands) so that the viewing pattern of a nation of billion plus is adequately recorded, the industry needs to get ready to loosen its purse strings. Clients, agencies, media houses… everyone needs to contribute generously. Carping from the sidelines is going to be of no use.


Because without adequate funding, there will be BARC but no bite.


* * *


PS: A compelling ad by PETA. If this doesn’t motivate you to switch to a veggie diet, nothing will. Bring out the mooli, the lauki, the baingan and the sprouts, I say!



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3 responses to “Anil Thakraney: TV research needs BARC. And bite”

  1. Lynn de Souza says:

    Anil – I was not alluding to corruption at all. I have absolutely no knowledge of that. I was talking about the cost of meters. Do your homework, Thaks, Check the cost of meters available, and the cost shown in TAM’s books for meters that they have to import.

  2. Anil Thakraney says:

    Lynn: You are alluding to corruption in the system, for which there are only allegations so far, and no real proof. So let’s wait for the court case verdict, and we’ll perhaps get a better idea. However, I was quoting Shashi Sinha on the lack of funding, assuming that he’ll know a thing or two on this, being an insider. By the way, must say I was a bit disappointed with your article on this subject. You keep mentioning ‘vested interests’, without naming them! What’s the point? What change can this bring about? Name them, Lynn… you have nothing to lose. If industry leaders keep quiet, where’s the hope? 🙂

  3. Lynn de Souza says:

    Have you studied the cost of the meters being charged to Indian subscribers versus what they should be? The difference runs into several times. There is enough money – it’s just going down the wrong avenues.