By Invitation | Joydip Kapadia: BARC takes its first step

21 Jan,2013

By Joydip Kapadia


As they say “A journey of a thousand steps starts with a single step


BARC has issued a Request For Information (RFI). The RFI seeks ideas and capabilities from varied solution vendors (perhaps Research cos as well as Tech cos) to give their inputs on how they would approach TV Measurement. This presumably sets the ball rolling for precisely why it came into existence. This is but one step in the several layers that need to be laid before the final system is set up.


The Three Fundamental Questions

In the design of a system as complicated and consensus-based as TV Measurement, there are always multiple facets to look at and analyze. The three critical areas to address for any joint industry initiative at this stage are:-


1. Industry Leadership Vision (awaited)

2. User Requirements, Feedback (awaited)

3. Vendor Capabilities  (this is the current RFI issued by BARC)


Awaiting BARC’s Vision

One is also hoping for a vision statement that puts clearly on the table BARCs ambitions. What will be the expanse of coverage in terms of geography, target groups, pop-strata and many more. Is the vision also to capture TV viewing on ‘other screens’? With consumption of TV having changed and changing fast how will this dynamism be captured and with what accuracy – meaning how much would the emphasis be on R&D?


Industry leaders represented on the BARC Board should typically build a consensus on the contours of the new system. Not defining the perimeters in this case could lead to angst and confusion among some of the stakeholders.


Consultation on User Requirements

The current RFI has been asked from organisations who could possibly provide data or technology or both. However, one hopes that what will also come in soon is to ask Users of the data and other stakeholders, their requirements and concerns as part of a consultative approach. The stakeholders could be asked to present their consultative papers on what they feel should be the construct of the new system. There are clearly a lot of diverse users utilizing TV Measurement and some of these folks have had all sorts of angst on sample sizes, geographical coverage, representation of certain pop-strata, analysis variables in the system, sampling methodology/ criteria, etc etc.


A compilation and understanding of these papers would help BARC look for a option that can provide more or less what the stakeholder are looking for. Very much in line with what TRAI did before implementing digitisation. The success of BARC lies in building consensus among all the stakeholders.


Vendor Capabilities (The Current RFI)

BARC has issued the RFI wherein they have asked varied companies to provide their capabilities. This is critical but will be only be a partial solving of the Measurement conundrum. The other pieces mentioned in this piece are also critical to capture. One hopes to see more action in this space in days to come.


Joydip Kapadia is Business Head, Television Street Maps. He has worked with TAM Media Research as VP Operations from October 1998 to July 2008. Earlier, he had a 14-year stint with market research firms ORG-MARG and Mode (1984-1998).


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