Terms it the best rating system globally
GN Bureau | October 31, 2020
As the Broadcast Audience Research Council comes under a cloud, the chairperson of its technical committee and a media veteran, Shashi Sinha, has argued that it is one of the best systems of its kind in the world.
Sinha said that such an industry body where the board is governed by stakeholders including agencies, clients and broadcasters coming together to run it exists only in a few countries, notably France. “Very basic things are right about it. The marking technology in place is more advanced than many other markets and thirdly the panel of 45,000 is the largest and more than double of China, a country more advanced than India. The funders, that is, the big networks and broadcasters are credible people.”
Sinha, who is also the CEO of IPG Media Brands India, was in a live webcast with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Friday as part of the Visionary Talks Series organized by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
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Sinha said that the problem is it is getting into controversy with news genres. “News is a niche genre and not brought on ratings. At any given time 1% people watch English prime time news. So 1% of 44,000 homes is 440 homes, which watch the 16 news channels and the average is 20-25 homes. The ratings are rounded off to .2, .3 or .01 etc.,” he explained as he added that the level of rating error is very high and a channel with high ratings may not get best rates.
“Rating is all about egos and keeping their masters happy … What they don’t play is that they are no. 1 of .1% or 1% ratings. Some people’s misdoings cannot put BARC under spotlight. They have done undue damage…. I have said it to all the broadcasters which they are realizing… I think BARC is a strong currency and God forbid if anything were to happen during this dynamic time it will hurt industry… in the heart of hearts they realize it. It is solid currency,” he further said.
The media veteran said that it is not correct to put blame on the regulatory system when there is lack of self-regulation.
“BARC will do course correction. We are working to ensure sample sizes do not misrepresent. In the next few weeks we will find a solution. We have plugged loopholes. I think all big newscasters are realizing we should not hurt the body,” said Sinha.
While speaking on challenges faced by the print media, Sinha said that though small town India has enough headroom and young people have desperate desire to learn, advertisers too are coming because the print is reaching the right audience. The problem he said lies in metros where English-speaking young people are glued to their mobiles and the digital is posing a huge challenge to bring about a habit change.
He said that in various bodies they have discussed raising cover price of newspapers and his advice to print owners is to leverage their existing print platforms in adopting digital and evolve.
As cinemas halls continue to remain shut in many parts of the country, Sinha said the construct of Bollywood which is a star-driven system and has high gestation period for productions, it’s a long haul. “The TV industry has adapted faster and migrated to OTT. The good thing is that OTT will bring about democratization of production when India cinema is star-driven. It will be a time for writers and creators,” he said.
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