TAM and BARC to live together happily ever after

Amen! When one was wondering if industry would have to brace for two currency audience measurement scenario, and the channels would pick and choose the ratings that suited them best in a given scenario, comes the news of union. And it would not be right to write and obituary for TAM – there perhaps is more to it than meets the eye – or so our sources claim!

It takes us back to the beginning of the year 2009, when National Readership Studies Council (NRSC), which published NRS and Media Research Users Council (MRUC), which published IRS, announced their merger and thus IRS under the aegis of RSCI became the single measurement currency for print industry. Though, it was after a long period of unhappy coexistence. However, in case of BARC and TAM, merger comes even before BARC could be fully ready with its measurement system.

A quick flashback to battle of the television audience measurement systems – just to about 30 days back.

It was less than a month back that BARC had stated that it was the only registered Rating Company in India. Soon after the statement, a counterclaim came from TAM that its registration too is under process. There were also talks of ISA & AAAI meeting up with senior BARC officials to provide their feedback. Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India had then stated that as the industry begins to use BARC ratings as the single television audience measurement currency, it is critical to get their feedback, answer all their queries and make changes based on the industry’s feedback. 

However, it was then – now the two have joined hands. Our source, a very senior industry professional divulges that it is a 51% - 49% relationship between BARC and TAM.  While TAM would be responsible for backend work and collect data, BARC would validate it before it is distributed. Meanwhile, TAM would also continue its focus on Print, Radio, Adex and more.

There, of course, are many questions to which answers are being sought –
a. What happened in the past 30 days that made TAM’s measurement methodology accurate enough to be used by BARC?
b. If their data in other directions like radio measurement and Adex is considered to be delivering to the optimum, why not TV data?
c. Would BARC play the role of an audit agency – if yes, what happens to the measurement system that it began putting in place?
d. Has AAAI and ISA meeting with BARC had something to do with it?
e. Does it not continue to be TAM data only, however, now audited by BARC?
f. If there would be both BARC meters and TAM meters in the market, would it not impact the measurement system? Or, are the meters same or similar?

However, the industry believes that all these are nonissues. As long as the data is robust, there is a single currency and all the stake-holders approve of it – there is no reason to complain.



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