Wrong to have dragged BARC into controversy: Chairman Sudhanshu Vats on dual LCN issue

02 Jun,2017

By A Correspondent

 

Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman – BARC, has issued a statement on the recent note from regulator TRAI (short for Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on the multiple LCN (logical channel numbers) issue that recently derailed the broadcast media industry ecosystem.

 

The statement form Vats, Group Chief Executive Officer, Viacom18, assumes importance as other than being BARC chairman, he is also Chairman, National Committee on Media & Entertainment, Confederation of Indian Industry and Vice President, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). This is the statement:

“The recent note from TRAI on the LCN issue (titled ‘Listing of TV Channels on Electronic Programme Guide) is a welcome step in the right direction. It provides all market players with much-needed clarity and clearly spells out the regulator’s view on the issue. Once again TRAI has taken the ‘consumer lens’ and ensured that she remains at the center of the discourse.

 

As the dust settles on the matter, three key truths have been proven. The first pertains to BARC and its methods to measure what India watches. In that context, it is safe to say that watermarking is a modern, robust technology that has held the industry in good stead.  In record time, BARC has earned a fair share of its currency of trust and all its stakeholders are committed to its mission, including the IBF which backs it in entirety. To be frank, it was wrong to drag BARC into the issue in the first place. The second truth requires us to introspect as an industry. It is unfortunate that some members have taken issue with the use of multiple LCNs when many have themselves set the precedent for it – either as a promotional or as a defensive tactic. While this should now abate given the recent direction from TRAI, moving forward, all market players must create consensus internally rather than squander away the valuable time of the courts. Our ‘shared credibility’ as an industry should never be dented – especially not by our own actions. Finally, as we look towards a ‘multi-screen future’, ‘Total Audience Measurement’ (i.e. measurement of content consumption across devices including handheld, desktop, TV etc.) will become the norm. In such an environment, all content players will look at innovative ways to increase their reach and sampling while focusing on delivering winning content. This is the new normal that we all need to prepare for.

 

I’ve always thought of our industry as a large family with members who often quarrel but eventually come together. This time will be no different.”

 

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