A drop of blood is enough for test: BARC CEO defends sample size

Larger sample size has a cost factor too, says Sunil Lulla; foresees Mahabharat between TV and OTT

GN Bureau | December 4, 2020


#TRP   #BARC   #internet   #TV   #entertainment   #Media   #audience measurement   #Sunil Lulla   #economy  


Countering the criticism of a minuscule sample size for TV audience measurement to gauge the viewership taste of a large Indian population, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India CEO Sunil Lulla has said that only a drop of blood is enough to give test results of a person’s DNA and you do not need to five litres of blood for that.

“A drop of blood can give your whole DNA, for which I don’t need to pull five litres of blood out of your body. It’s a sample and a sample is the representation of the universe. It is supposed to be the projected estimate of how the universe behaves,” he said.

Lulla was in a webinar conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, as part of the Visionary Talks series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
 
Watch the video:



To watch this and previous episodes of the series, click here: www.governancenow.com/Visionary-Talks-series

He spoke on a range of issues including the audience measurement model, advertising, TV, and digital platforms. Defending the measurement system in place, he said that it is one of the largest samples in the world and built taking into consideration all the key factors that influence viewing. It is being certified by enough audit firms and statistical institutes both Indian and international. He also added that the stakeholders are not ready to pay for a larger sample size.    

“At the end of the day, you want to do a sample which is a million homes instead of 50,000 homes. Somebody has to pay for it… We are a stakeholders’ body. Our stakeholders are not interested in paying for it… There may be individuals who have different opinions but the stakeholders are not interested in paying for a larger sample because it does not create for a better return or the economics. There is a percentage you pay for measurement of investment in your business. An advertiser who advertises Rs 5-10 crore on TV will only pay an X amount to the media agency or for measurement of its advertising. A broadcaster whose job is to gain audiences of a certain kind and get monetised for audiences will pay only an X amount for measurement… And what is the benefit for that?  So the channel which may have a lower presence in any of the stake samples needs to appreciate the variability in their data,” he explained.  

The media veteran asked who started the concepts ‘weekday’, ‘prime time’, manic, hyper-competition and why, and said that advertisers don’t behave like this. “In this time period when we are not releasing new data… volumes of advertising on news channels have only gone up….. advertisers are smart enough to know what channels to choose and what data to use.. and their partner agencies are extremely smart in making these choices. We should not discount this smartness. I believe the sample size we have today is right,” he reiterated.

“I am not averse to increasing the sample size by 100%.Let somebody pay for it and understand the benefits of it,” he said.

Lulla said that advertising stimulates demand and plays a very important role in the Indian economy. The US has a subscription-based market and advertising is 3% of GDP, while in India, he said, it is only about  0.4% , which is less than half of that in the US and still has got a long way to go. “A developed economy has 1% ratio between advertising and GDP. Advertising influences people.”

He further said that as custodians of the industry, we need to respect what the industry produces. Because many broadcasters are also players on digital screen, they may have on offer different services. Subscription alone on TV is very hard. “You need to monetise the screen smartly which everyone is watching. Advertising is part of building the Indian economy and will continue play a very strong role. If there is a goal to build a 5 trillion economy advertising will play a very pivotal role in creating consumption and demand. It is one of the levers which is going to get to the bet. Every day will not be like 2020. Consumption will increase.”

Speaking on advertising and revenues, Lulla said that when in March 2020 there was considerable amount of advertising, later, even though there was a peak in viewership there was a trough of advertising. That gap has never been seen before. Now the advertising volume is back (with large spends on hygiene, digital including gaming and education) and higher as compared to last year, but advertising values will take some time to get back to original levels.

Giving his views on subscription-based services and content with ads, he said that the Indian market will have a market for both. “Subscription-based services may reach out to 25 million people but for 75% of India, the masses, content with ads is the only way to inform, educate, share and entertain, share and educate. We have headroom to grow,” said Lulla.

On digital advertising, he said that in 2020 digital advertising has overtaken TV advertising in the US  and the same is likely to be the case in India before 2030 as it is already growing at a fast pace here. “It is a question of the quality of service, the economic situation and how people choose to access their phones… It’s about screen time. There will be a growth in advertising, in digital advertising in very big numbers in the next few years,” he said.

The TV medium, Lulla observed, is sustaining and not dropping. “TV is still the best medium [for] a mass campaign across Indian households and if it continues to attract certain sizeable niches, TV will sustain itself. While YouTube is an ocean, curated content and OTT will take time to grow that factor. The content of TV has to change to take on the battle of digital. There will be Mahabharat between TV and OTT.”
 

Comments

 

Other News

Media trial a dangerous trend: Aryama Sundaram

There is a danger in media doing trials of ongoing cases and this must be stopped, says senior advocate Aryama Sundaram. He castigated media trials and said nowadays in media while a case is going on you have debates where people are discussing what is right and what is wrong, which way the

PM launches Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister said that the campaign of strengthening health faci

Want to learn the art of politics? There’s a course for it

Twenty-five youngsters with dreams of becoming political leaders – or of contributing meaningfully to governance processes – have begun their exciting journey, in a formal setting of an education institute. The Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership (IIDL), of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Visionary Talk: Aryama Sundaram, Senior Advocate on Governance & Judiciary


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter