Shailesh Kapoor: Expectations from BARC on the Eve of its Debut

10 Apr,2015

By Shailesh Kapoor


Finally, it’s happening. After two exciting years that were forever pregnant with possibilities, the first BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) ratings will be out later this month. While the original announcement on formation of BARC dates back to 2008, the lawsuit NDTV filed against TAM in 2012 was perhaps the momentum trigger, whose results we will begin to experience soon.


So far, broadcasters, who are stakeholders in BARC via IBF, have been unanimous that BARC ratings should be the only operating TV currency in India in the future. We have seen with the new IRS in 2013 that things can take an ugly turn when the actual data is out, but chances of that happening in TV ratings is significantly lower, because of the nature of the industry and broadcasters’ wholehearted endorsement of BARC thus far.


Yet, a lot will be expected from BARC once the ratings begin to roll out. Here are five of my expectations (in no particular order) from BARC for it to emerge as not just India’s unanimous TV currency, but also an industry favourite for years to come.


1. Don’t let the pressure get to you: There are bound to high-pressure situations once ratings roll out. Broadcasters who are at the wrong end of the proverbial stick are bound to create stress in your lives, demanding explanations. There are bound to be comparisons to the TAM ratings, however unwarranted they may be statistically. Just take firm stands in such situations, and the rules of engagement will be set for the future.


2. Stick to data reporting, don’t offer advisory services: Stick to reporting and do not offer advisory services at any time. The moment you begin to guide channels on what they can do to increase their viewership (TAM has done that for a while through S Group), you are essentially losing your status of a data reporter operating at an arm’s length. It is much like a critic who hobnobs with the studios during the week and then reviews their films on the Friday that follows.


3. Offer an ‘elite audience’ service soon: The area of measuring the ‘elite audience’, the small fraction of wealthy India that many premium products target, remains an unfinished agenda. It may not be on your agenda any time soon, but do keep it on the task list. There is a large piece of the ad revenue pie that the television industry is potentially losing to print because TV ratings do not have meaningful measurement in this audience segment.


4. Price and package innovatively: Remember, there are not just broadcasters and media agencies, but many other types of firms who would be served well with your data. This includes content producers, insights firms, digital agencies, film studios, etc. Be innovative in pricing, so that affordability is ensured without dilution of value. Get your data into the bloodstream of the media industry, not just in the broadcaster and planning world.


5. Open up data bureaus soon, very soon: Do not delay the “licensing” (is there a better word?) of data to approved data bureaus, who can create their own products around the data, offering them as standalone services to the relevant target audience, e.g. a category of channels or advertisers. In the digital world today, third-party ideas that build on your data can be game-changers. The possibilities can be endless. Just open the gates!


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One response to “Shailesh Kapoor: Expectations from BARC on the Eve of its Debut”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great thought on getting into data bureaux, Shailesh. That is clearly the future direction for Audience Measurement JIBs. See the BARB list

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