Mumbai: After a hiatus of nearly 18 months, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India has resumed rankings for individual news channels with the release of Week 10 2022 data on March 17. Following an industry-wide consultation process, the rating agency developed the Augmented Data Reporting Standards (ADRS) for news and special interest genres, under which Audience estimates for these genres will be released based on a four-week rolling average, each week.
The new system was designed to address the problem of small sample size, technically “incidence,” which makes news and niche genres prone to error and rigging. The four-week moving average therefore provides more robust and reliable audience estimates with lower levels of error than the previous weekly reporting standard.
Although the technical details appear to be in place, stakeholders including broadcasters, advertisers and media planners, while broadly supportive of ADRS, have expressed some reservations about it, ranging from outright disapproval and simple to a “good for now” and “wait and see” approach.
Insubstantial as it returns
Overall, the “return in ratings” has been well received by the industry; it was a celebration for some and a vindication for others. And yet, there were players who completely refused to accept it. Just days before ratings resumed, a major news outlet pulled out of Barc, citing the proposed changes as “alarmingly insignificant”. She was apparently unhappy with the ratings agency’s reluctance to work on her sample size, which she said was insufficient to ensure a manipulation-free measurement process.
An authority figure told IndianTelevision.com on condition of anonymity that while the sample size of almost 40,000 to 50,000 people Barc works with is adequate enough, which really makes the data subject to both to errors and to faking, it’s “relatively tiny audience of news and special interest genres.
“Statistically speaking, because ‘incidence’ – which is inversely proportional to the level of error – is much lower than that of other genera, increasing the sample size will have no impact on efficiency. or the sanctity of data/ratings. So the well-thought-out transition to ADRS (four-week moving average) is the best approach to provide the most accurate estimates for news and niche genre audiences,” says -he.
Impact on media planning
Sharing his thoughts during a panel discussion hosted by IndianTelevision.com last month, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Omnicom Media Group India, Yatin Balyan said weekly data helps to understand their investment performance in a particular program and develop a learning base to make a futuristic recommendation. “While we take a long view of an average of four weeks, eight weeks or 13 weeks, weekly ratings are important because not all events we buy have a longer format,” Balyan said.
Patanjali Ayurved COO – Media and Communications Anita Nayyar also points out that due to the high volatility of programming in the news space, it is important to report ratings regularly. “Unlike GECs, there’s no reason a newcomer can’t top the charts in the news genre as it’s completely dependent on the content and the pulse of the audience the channel reaches. “, she adds.
However, for exactly the same reasons as mentioned above, an average will make it possible to better understand the audience of a news channel, underlines the expert. “ADRS should be welcomed by media planners as it simplifies their lives by reducing the disparity between planned and actual GRPs delivered on a campaign. There is also the fact that the news programming can only be changed to a certain extent, regardless of the TRPs.
Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), Shashank Shrivastava is quite happy with the new rating standards. “Since we typically run regular and slightly longer brand sustenance and launch campaigns on news channels, our media planning won’t be affected as much as someone opting for a one-time investment. and shorter,” he shares.
Short stories are a crucial genre for Maruti, speaking of impact and affinity between its TGs. The automaker uses GECs for range. “We generally only prefer the top three channels in any industry, whether it’s business news, English, Hindi or vernacular, and we analyze them by market. Our experience and the rankings that have now been released also show that there has not been much fluctuation in these rankings,” remarks Shrivastava.
Dabur India Director Rajiv Dubey is happy that the ratings are back and the trend that has emerged justifies his marketing instincts which have taken on added importance during the blackout days. Dabur is a prominent announcer on news channels, especially Hindi and regional. The genre comes second to GECs for the FMCG major.
Commenting on the likely impact of the new reporting standards on his media strategy, he said: “I don’t think it will have a significant impact as media plans are not made or changed every week. We consider an average of four to thirteen weeks for this.
That being said, Dubey expects to have more weekly and granular data from Barc in the future. “It’s important to have a common standard across genres for comparative planning and to understand audience trends for special events/programming on news channels where my campaign may appear.” he. Expressing concern over “Barc’s rather covert approach to a particular genre,” Dubey says he will continue to use other sources like Zapr, data from DTH platforms, and the company’s own internal investigation that has become its pillar during the breakdown.
It may be worth noting here that Barc has capped the “custom event reports” (CER) available to broadcasters “to meet their business needs” at 12 for a financial year.