MUMBAI: The long-running debate around India's TV ratings has taken a new, and decisive, turn as the two main protagonists have pooled their resources in a new company to gather all relevant data.
BARC India, the television rating company formed by broadcasters, agencies and advertisers, and TAM India, the television audience measurement company owned by Nielsen and Kantar, are forming a separate meter company which will manage all 34,000 television meters which the two organisations currently operate.
The new business – in which BARC has a 51% stake, TAM 49% – will carry out field work and supply raw data to BARC which will analyse the findings and supply a television rating which will be the sole trading currency for the industry.
This development means an end to the TAM television ratings, the accuracy of which had been disputed by broadcasters, although TAM India will continue to provide non-TV ratings services.
"This partnership is a big step forward and in this era of cooperation, we welcome this move forward as a joint industry body," said Punit Goenka, chairman of BARC India.
"The technology and methodological prowess of BARC, combined with the extra meters and the field force will definitely help the industry progress," he added.
Six months ago, the two sides were at loggerheads as LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research, condemned the "shameful" behaviour of industry bodies which had advised members to end their arrangements with TAM and subscribe instead to BARC.
The tone now, however, is very different, with Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, stating: "We are happy to cooperate with BARC India to be able to provide clarity and a large single sample for the industry and to keep India as a key market for us."
And Steve Hasker, global president, Nielsen, said the new venture "draws strengths from both BARC India and TAM India" and would offer "great coverage and representation".
The Indian TV advertising market was worth US$2.2bn last year and is expected to grow at an average rate of 8.1% this year and next, according to the latest data from Warc's International Ad Forecast.
Further, Warc's Media Inflation Forecast, which draws consensus from three major ad agencies on the price of marketing via different media, finds that the cost of a 30 second TV spot in India is likely to rise 10% this year.
Data sourced from IndianTelevision.com, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff