BARC mulls debarring networks of all channels who have pulled out (for 6-12 months)

23 May,2017

By A Correspondent

In what can have very far-reaching repercussions in the media ecosystem, it is learnt that BARC (short for Broadcast Audience Research Council) is mulling the exercise of a significant clause in its bilateral agreement with members.


The clause reads:

Neither SUBSCRIBER, nor its employee, agent, contractor or any person shall switch off the Watermark at any point in time during the Term. In the event the Watermark is swiched off by SUBSCRIBER, BARC shall be entitled to forthwith deactivate SUBSCRIBER’S Login, Remote Login for period of 6 to 12 months, to be determined by BARC in its sole discretion, and SUBSCRIBER shall not be entitled to access the Licensed Data in any manner whatsoever.


Despite repeated attempts, BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta was unavailable for comment. However, according to the information provided to MxMIndia by a broadcaster, this agreement has been signed by all broadcasters with BARC.


Now where this gets tricky is if the subscriber and remote login are the same for the entire network. This means that by doing this channels belonging to a network – some of them in leadership positions and making a lot more revenue than the channels that are pulling out – will get majorly affected. We cannot name names because some sensitive souls may initiate legal action but assume Network Q has channels E H and B. E is English, H is Hindi and B is Business. Now if H and B are the cash cows, and the problem is actually with E which has pulled out, the network loses the ratings for the Channel H and B too.


This may very adversely impact the business and erode shareholder value of the channel.


When MxM spoke to another broadcaster, he told us that this may well be BARC flexing its muscles. But according to information, there is a section of BARC subscribers who are determined to teach the erring channels a lesson and may prevail upon BARC to administer this.


“If BARC doesn’t debar them, we may have to initiate action against it for not administering the rule as it ought to,” we were told.

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