Mumbai: Efforts by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc), set up by broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies in September to establish an alternative television audience measurement system in India, are likely to slow even more with the resignation of its chairman and chief proponent Pradeep Guha.
Guha stepped down as a consequence of his departure from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, where he was chief executive.
Big loss: Pradeep Guha stepped down as Barc chairman after his departure from Zee Entertainment.
The council was looking for a substitute or alternative to the much-debated peoplemeter system of TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd.
Broadcasters and other stakeholders have sought a parallel audience measurement system because theyfeel that TAM’s 7,000 peoplemeters across Class 1 towns cannot adequately capture data for a country as large and complex as India. Since TAM only concentrates on towns with populations of 1 lakh plus, it leaves out many rural and semi-urban areas. Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam do not have peoplemeters, say broadcasters.
For the council, the loss is significant since Guha iscredited with helping co-create the group, whose members include the Indian Society of Advertisers, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).
The council has been facing various hurdles since its formation including differences between ad and broadcasting fraternities on various issues, say industry members. One member, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “The biggest challenge...is in getting together all its different high-flying committee members at one place and time since they all have pressing engagementsrelated to their own companies. Without a doubt, Guha’s exit will slow the process still further.”
“You must remember that Barc comprises three separate constituents (ad agencies, advertisers and broadcasters) that are not aligned in their interests,” said Paritosh Joshi, president of Star India. “It’s a complex process to bring all these constituents together. In each of these cases, the industry bodies are autonomous in themselves. And I think it’s better that we take some time out to set the house in order now, than getting into complications later.”
“Because of the departure of Pradeep Guha, we would see a re-grouping at Barc and naturally, the re-grouping would be from the IBF side,” added Joshi.
“We would have made some changes before end-July and would also have some big announcements by then.”
IBF director (finance) Naresh Chahal said the next chairman of the council would also be from IBF. “It’s been pre-decided that the first chairman for Barc (with two years’ tenure) would befrom IBF.”
Some members believe that Guha might yet be back relatively soon if, as many believe, he will soon surface at a broadcaster despite going to an unrelated start-up for now.
Meanwhile, the council is yet to form a secretariat or frame a reference paper that would be circulated to research agencies interested in pitching for the job of setting up an alternative TV measurement system though Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, Multiscreen Media Pvt. Ltd, formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television India Pvt. Ltd, maintains there is a sense of urgency among all major stakeholder groups to move forward.
Guha is also looking to leave the Indian Newspaper Society as he is no longer affiliated to Zee Group or Bhaskar Group, which also have newspapers.
“So far, Divya Bhaskar has not come to us and said that they don’t want Guha to represent them which is why he’s still a part of INS,” said Paresh Nath, deputy president of INS and publisher of Delhi Press, noting that, as past president of INS, Guha has been in the society for a decade.