New Delhi : The Indian broadcast and media industry will face a blackout of ratings data during the transition from TAM to the new platform Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in March, possibly impacting the cricket World Cup and the Indian Premier League, or IPL, right after it.
The industry is expected to use the last of TAM data at the end of February while BARC will begin rolling out data in April, said a senior executive from a media agency.
“The industry associations — Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), Association of Advertising Agencies of India (AAAI) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) — have agreed on the switch to BARC, which will now be the new industry currency,” said the executive.
A spokesman for TAM, however, said: “Our organisation has not received any official communication from anyone so far. TAM will continue to generate and report TV viewership data to the industry subscribers as usual.”
BARC India is currently testing data and should be ready to make it commercial in the next couple of months, said its chief executive Partho Dasgupta.
While such a blackout period is not new to the industry — TAM data, which has so far been the only available option in the country, was temporarily suspended for nine weeks in 2012 — media agencies will have to rely on other sources during March. “It will be left to the media planners and agencies to extrapolate based on historical data. There is enough data there,” said Madhukar Kamath, CEO and managing director at DDB Mudra. Kamath added, “It is unfortunate that the World Cup comes in the middle of this but there will be a minimum of two weeks’ data available on the event apart from historical analysis and modelling ability of media agencies to make their recommendations.” BARC is the joint broadcasting industry body that was set up in 2012 with the aim of developing a new TV audience measurement system. AAAI, ISA and IBF are part of BARC.
The council was formed after some broadcasters found that data provided by TAM Media Research in India, a joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Media, was inaccurate. News broadcaster NDTV had challenged the authenticity of the data in a New York court and claimed damages.