We can’t be without a measurement system: Hemant Bakshi, ISA Chair & ED, HUL

13 Jan,2014


What appeared to be a quiet start of the year emerged as an action-packed one as the ghost of the TV measurement scare emerged yet again with the Union Cabinet approving guidelines on television audience measurement issued by the TRAI.  Hemant Bakshi, Executive Director – Home & Personal Care of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Chairman, Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) spoke with Shobhana Nair on how no measurement system is no good for the ecosystem, and the television sector in particular. The ISA, it may be remembered, had opposed the stand of several broadcasters who had unsubscribed from TAM last year. Excerpts from an interview with Mr Bakshi


The danger of no measurement system hangs on the industry again though the reason is different this time around. How have you thought of handling it as the ISA Chairman?

Firstly, it has just been announced and we need to get clarification on exactly how it is going to be amended. We are trying to figure that out right now. Meanwhile, ISA’s position on this remains the same that we do need a robust measurement system and I think the guidelines will help us get that. In the short term, we can’t be without a measurement system because ratings are the currency with which we buy television and the absence of the currency will affect the industry. We want to avoid that scenario at any cost.


Have you discussed the situation with other members of ISA and what is a possible solution that has come out?

I think we will come to conclusions but, as I said, right now we need to understand the details of the guidelines on how things will pan out, etc. And we are working on it.


What are your thoughts on the guidelines by TRAI for TV Rating Agencies? Do you think it is a good attempt to create a manipulation-free environment?

I haven’t seen the guidelines fully, so I don’t want to comment on it.


BARC has many months before it becomes operational, what is on your agenda to speed up things there?

BARC has already been working quite well and the progress has been outstanding. We need to keep in mind that to create something of this nature takes time and can’t be done overnight. Having said that, the work on BARC is at a good pace.


After everyone came to an agreement last year on the need for a television audience measurement, we still have many  sections in the industry against TAM…

I think we should look ahead and not look back. Going forward, the three bodies (IBF, ISA & AAAI) are working together through BARC to create a ratings system which will be acceptable to everyone. I think we should put all our energies in that.


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