Home >Industry >Star Plus takes the top spot in Barc’s TV ratings

Star Plus has retained its leadership position among Hindi entertainment channels with its flanking channel Life OK taking the lead over Zee in the new ratings unveiled by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India, a joint industry body formed for measuring television viewership.

The ratings are for week 16 of 2015. Star Plus was the number one channel in the TAM audience measurement system as well; it has now been discarded by broadcasters and advertising agencies.

Star Plus and Life OK, run by Star India Pvt. Ltd, which is owned by 21st Century Fox, had Gross Ratings Points (GRPs) of 490 and 363 respectively in week 16. With a GRP of 309, Zee, from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, was behind Life OK.

Colors, the Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) of Viacom18, was at number two with a GRP of 438. GRPs are the sum total of television rating points, or the cumulative ratings, for a channel. The numbers have been collated from television channels that subscribe to Barc data.

“Star continues to be the number one network—which it was even under TAM—and has strengthened its share, but we must not compare the two measurement systems and start judging trends. To me the big news for the industry is that we have a new, robust system of measurement which is capturing the urban viewership landscape meaningfully," said Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer of Star India. Barc was formed after broadcasters complained of inaccuracies and anomalies in data provided by TAM.

TAM measured individual viewership, while Barc is capturing household-level data and the two are not comparable. “Besides, these are just one week’s ratings and it would be unfair to make a judgement based on these," said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive officer, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, a media and digital marketing communications company.

However, he said there were some changes in the rankings of channels in the regional markets too. For instance, Colors with its regional offering—Colors Kannada—has moved ahead of others in Karnataka. “Similarly, the Hindi news segment has shown a reach of 55-60%, and agencies can now build a media plan around news itself," said Bhasin.

Among Hindi general entertainment channels, Colors claims a leadership position on all days during prime time between 7pm and 12am, ahead of Star Plus. It also says that more people watch Colors in high definition than they watch Star Plus.

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd, said the Barc data launch was a watershed moment for the television industry as it is more representative, more accurate and more objective and transparent.

“And it is already playing out to some extent... at Viacom18 we have had our share of highs and lows. With the first read, Colors is now a leader in prime time and Colors Kannada is the leader in Kannada market," he said. In the English news genre, Times Now is still number one and its editor Arnab Goswami said the channel has seen its share increase. “I am delighted with the Barc numbers. It shows us dominating half the market with the other half shared between the smaller English news channels."

At an all-India level, Times Now enjoys a 49% share, much ahead of Headlines Today at 23%. In the six metros, Times Now claims a 51% market share. The market share data is for all India in the New Consumer Classification System AB, which is the more affluent segment.

These highlights of the brand-new television viewership ratings for the broadcasting industry were rolled out by Barc India on Wednesday. Barc India comprises broadcasters, advertising agencies and advertisers who have together funded the new study on television viewership.

Barc India CEO Partho Dasgupta in a tweet announced the launch of the viewership study that currently covers only urban areas with a population of 100,000-plus.

The data has been collated from 12,000 people meters in homes against the 20,000 promised at the time the initiative was launched to take on TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, the audience measurement system put in place by information and insights firm Nielsen and Kantar Media, a WPP company.

Paritosh Joshi, a member of the technical committee of Barc, said the company will start gathering data from 20,000 homes in the next six months.

“Already 17,000 meters have been installed. These will start collecting data in the next few weeks," he said, adding, “Even at 12,000 meters we are the largest single-people meter panel in the world." Joshi said Barc was happy to release the findings after three years of work on putting the systems and technology in place. Anticipating different reactions from the television industry as new data alter the existing channel rankings, Joshi said the system should not be judged on the basis of numbers for a week or even for a month.

“The system should be allowed time," he said. He also said comparisons should not be made between old data from TAM and the new data from Barc. “They are different ways of computing them and even the establishment study is different. That is not all. Barc follows a new consumer classification system." In its next step, Barc will start measuring towns with a population of under 100,000 and rural markets, Joshi said.

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