MUMBAI: The chairman of the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) has expressed confidence that a new TV ratings system planned for launch in October will proceed on time.

Hemant Bakshi told [impact] magazine that the progress made by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) during the past 12 months had been "incredible", adding: "I have not known any industry body to produce such high quality work in such a short period of time".

BARC, a three-way alliance between broadcasters, advertisers and agencies, is aiming to offer a new TV audience measurement facility based on 25,000 people meters in 20,000 homes. Currently ratings supplied by TAM are based on a sample survey, a system that leading broadcasters threatened to withdraw from a year ago because they were unhappy with the basis of data collection.

TAM also came in for criticism from the new Minister for Information and Broadcasting, who recently observed that it had "a specialised skill in marketing its own product" and noted that "every channel can say they are the first (albeit within certain slots)".

While Bakshi did not anticipate any problems from broadcasters who are already "key constituents" of BARC, he was cautious about the move to the new system. "Very often the failure is not of the measurement system but inadequate communication and lack of transparency in the process," he explained, but he remained optimistic that the transition could be handled "seamlessly".

On the question of funding – TAM had long protested about the lack of funds yet the same organisations were supporting BARC – Bakshi said the council was sensitive to the issue and was "looking at scalable technologies that will not put undue financial pressure on the industry".

He also felt that the industry in India put too much emphasis on TV and that there was a great opportunity to make better use of other media. "Clearly radio is under-leveraged," he stated, adding that "both the broadcasters and advertisers can do a lot more to exploit the reach and depth of radio".

Data sourced from [impact], exchange4media; additional content by Warc staff