Naysayers silenced. BARC to go rural from next week

14 Oct,2015

By A Correspondent


Stability is a bad word to use in the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) office. You may well get barked at. As one top media agency honcho discovered at an event when s/he tried to raise it with a BARC official.


The decision to publish rural ratings didn’t happen with ease, we are told. There was at least one influential player who aggressively opposed it. There were some others who simply wondered: Shouldn’t we wait for the ratings to settle down?


The Board members were convinced on Tuesday evening that all will be well. The #1 channel will not tumble and turn #5. Yes, some free-to-air re-run channels will gain a bit, but, heck, if that’s what India watches, what can BARC do about it. A presentation was made in a Board meeting, and the decision was taken.


With this, BARC India, which currently reports about 55 million households representing C&S universe of 1 Lac+, will expand its reach to 153.5 million TV households, representing All India and all modes of signal. Of this 77.5 million are urban TV households and 76 million are rural TV households.


BARC India, which had recently announced a joint venture with TAM Media to form a meter management company, is working on the dynamics of it and will soon announce its integration plan.


“With the board giving us the go ahead to release the rural data, one will see ‘What India Watches’” said BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta.


According to an analyst, the big beneficiaries of this would be broadcasters who have worked on their reach to the hinterland, and have traditionally been strong. The dynamics are dramatically different for urban and rural India. Among these channels, Zee TV will be a big gainer, we are told as will be the free-to-air re-run channels of the key networks. Doordarshan officials are also reported to be jubilant about the rural numbers coming in, as that, they feel, will help highlight their popularity vis-à-vis others.


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