Das ka Dum with Dr Bhaskar Das | And now Zee News has also opted out of BARC, the second large news player to exit the measurement system. Is there a crisis of faith in the ratings system?

04 Oct,2022

Bhaskar DasIt’s not an easy question to answer, but there aren’t any rules about the kind of questions we should ask. Right? Well, let’s read what Dr Bhaskar Das has to say in the October 4 edition of Das ka Dum. He’s clearly one of the best persons in the ecosystem to comment on the issue. Read on…


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Q. And now Zee News has also opted out of BARC, the second large news player to exit the measurement system. Is there a crisis of faith in the ratings system?


A. It’s a very debatable issue as there are multiple actors in the stage (the world’s a stage anyway, as the Bard opined once) viz BARC, Advertisers, Agencies and the Channels. I am sure each one would have a unique/ different perspective and they might be divergent from one actor to other.

I can speculate on their unique perspectives but it would not necessarily represent their actual stand. So I am simulating the perspectives:


> BARC: I can imagine that they can’t influence the channel owner’s decision on the subject as they are conscious about their business imperatives which is advertising revenue-based where ratings might be playing some influence. Besides, BARC has a more significant play in the GEC space for obvious reasons. So their intensity of effort to persuade the channels to stay put  wit BARC might be disproportionate to the share of news channels in the overall pie of viewership/ topline.


> Agencies/ Advertisers: Ratings help in media planning and rate negotiations for better ROI for agencies and their clients, specially for language/ regional channels as pecking order helps in extracting better VFM for a targeted GRP. Will channels, without BARC ratings, be out of the consideration set? I have my doubts. It won’t be in the near-term as there is an existing empirical experience about the advertiser/ agency experience about the efficacy of the channel’s delivery. Besides, while planning, context might now be prioritised for evaluating of the vehicle for placement of advertisements.


> News Channels: NDTV has taken the lead but when channels like Zee take a stand, I am sure they have evaluated the pros and cons and the decision evince their confidence in their brands. They must have realised that chasing a rating ‘trade mill’, week after week, might distract them from serving their various stakeholders optimally. Now the focus can be on quality of journalism and appropriate contextual edit environment that can differentiate themselves from parity content. This can be an opportunity and the final arbiter, ie the market finds it acceptable, it’s a win -win proposition for them. The answer lies in the womb of future. I can’t speculate on that. If it works for them, the others might follow. But that’s story for another day.


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