The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India rolled out its first ratings this week ending the ratings blackout for television broadcasters. The new ratings  will have data for 1 lac+ C&S markets which corresponds to a sample size of 10,760 households, reports BARC India will monitor 12,000 sample households for this, using a stratified random sampling technique that is proven statistically. This will go up to 20,000 reporting homes, with addition of the less than 1 lac urban markets and rural areas to represent “What India Watches” in line with the Government of India, Jan 2014 notification, the report added.

The new data pointed out that Star Plus is leading Hindi general entertainment channel of the country while Zee emerged strong in regional channels like Telugu and Marathi. Times Now leads in English news category across India while Aaj Tak is the leader in Hindi news. Discovery led the infotainment category (All India).

BARC India will also have a new software called  BARC India Media Workstation and it claims that it has trained over 3,000 people across the country to help use the same.

How BARC collects data

  • Audio Watermarking embeds audio watermarks in video content prior to upload and broadcast
  • These watermarks are not audible to the human ear, but can easily be detected and decoded using dedicated hardware or software.
  • The watermark is broadcast along with the content.
  • As viewing details are recorded by the BAR-O-meters, so are the watermarks.
  • The raw data is cleaned, merged with the channel, program, language and broadcast schedule details. Universe Estimates are applied to get viewership data.

In June 2013, Star India, Viacom18, Network18, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Sony Entertainment Television Network, the Times TV Network and NDTV discontinued the services of Kantar Media & A.C.Nielsen’s TAM Media Research.

Broadcaster NDTV had filed a lawsuit against The Nielsen Company for for manipulating TV ratings and viewership data in favour of TV channels willing to pay bribes to its officials in July 2012. NDTV claimed that it had repeatedly experienced revenue losses due to ongoing rampant corruption in television viewership data published by TAM for eight years between 2004 to January 2012, despite several assurances from the company that it will stop publishing corrupt TAM data and fix the blatant corruption present in the data.

NDTV’s lawsuit against the Nielsen Company for alleged manipulation of TV ratings and viewership data through TAM was dismissed in February 2013 on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction, among others.