Some thing that started off as a war between members of NBA and Republic TV has unwarrantedly landed up in the courts of Viewership Measurement agency BARC and its is also in the receiving end of the on-going war between English News Channels in the country as they have decided to pull out of BARC rating system.
While, the decision was seen asa united front of NBA member networks against Arnab’s Republic TV, the in fighting and mudslinging has derailed the purpose with India Today complaining against Times NOW with a similar accusation of involvement in broadcasting in Multiple feeds.
Under this scenario Media veteran Mr Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network has spoken exclusively to tvnews4u.com and expressed his views and suggestive solutions to the on-going issue.
“My view is that BARC is an industry body created by the Industry to measure television viewing. BARC was formed encompassing the views of all the bodies into one entity”.
He expressed his displeasure on the way issue is progressing and said,“If somebody says I am pulling out because it doesn’t suit me, it sends a very negative message. It’s not fair to the subscribers, advertising agencies and clients, who have paid BARC to get viewership data”.
Mr. Bhasin also explained the accountability issues and practical difficulties that might arise and added, “I feel that Channels saying we will not participate are not the right approach as ultimately the Agencies and clients will ask for accountability since there is a pressure on accountability of every rupee we spend. You want to see ROI of every rupee spent. In TV the way to measure is to see what viewership it’s giving for the money you are paying, if that’s not there then how do you establish that.
He restrained from going detail in to the issue among the news channels and said, “I don’t want to comment on the details but irrespective of that in my view it’s not right for any channel to pull out of BARC, as it’s unfair to subscribers. Besides it’s detrimental to the system and unfair to the subscriber”.
On a suggestive note Mr.Bhasin also put forward solutions to sort-out the issues through mutual and amicable approach and said, “If there is any grievances or problems that need to be corrected, please go ahead and do it. Somebody may have a different point of view. That dialogue must happen, whether with NBA, IBF or BARC. I have no issues with that, as people can have difference of opinions. This will also keep the rating agency on their toes and improve the system if you point out any lacuna or shortcomings in the system”.
He also cautioned it as a false precedent and noted“I have no grouse on people having different opinions, but i do have an issue when people say I will pull out of the system. That is negative and it has to be discouraged, as tomorrow a GEC may turn around and say that we don’t need the rating and we are pulling out because their rating was poor and this will be the end of a system, which the industry itself has created”.
He concluded with a question, “why are we paying crores to BARC to monitor the system if our own constituents don’t want to support it”.
On asked about NBA Mr. Bhasin said he has not interacted much with them.