Barc Rating: BARC resumes ratings for news channels

The television viewership monitoring agency BARC has resumed the ratings for individual news channels with the release of data for Week 10, 2022 on Thursday.

The move comes two months after the government asked the agency to release the ratings following an overhaul of its systems and methodologies for the genre.

Following an industry-wide collaborative effort, the BARC Team, along with the BARC TechCommdeveloped the Augmented Data Reporting Standards for News and Special Interest genres, that are aligned with the industry’s needs, said the joint industry body.

As per these revised and approved standards, audience estimates for these genres will only be released based on a four-week rolling average, every week.

Commenting on the development, MK Anand, MD & CEO, Times Network, said, “The last two years have been extremely tough, with the pandemic transforming the world. People’s lives change dramatically, altering consumer behaviour across all categories, be it food, fashion, holidays, entertainment or news consumption. The news space saw an added disruption with alleged malpractices unearthed in the ratings system impacting viewer sentiment. All in all, there was trepidation when approaching the date, as to how news consumption had changed and how that would impact our shares. We are happy to note that our efforts to keep up with changing consumer preferences have been reciprocated by viewers.”

Anand added that Times Now has seen a marked increase in reach and time spent and the channel’s gross ratings have increased by 20%, vis-a-vis its performance in 2020, when the ratings were suspended. “With renewed consumer appetite for news, the comparative ratings have been shaken up, with Times Now shining as the true leader,” he said.

As per BARC, a level playing field has been ensured for all channels within the measurement ecosystem with a single YUMI login – BARC’s proprietary analytical software – access to the audience estimates.

The agency also said that it is sensitive to the industry’s need for past data for informed and equitable decision-making, so it will also release data for the previous 13 weeks, i.e., for the period of Week 49, 2021 to Week 9, 2022, only for the channels that have not chosen to opt out from receiving this data, which will also be based on a four-week rolling average.

According to BARC, the data will be released over the next three working days. The agency was forced to cease ratings in October 2020 after allegations that channel ratings were being influenced by a few broadcasters.

In order to familiarise its subscribers with these new reporting standards, BARC India held webinars where detailed explanations were provided, and questions answered.

The agency said that now they have a statistically sound and effective solution that works in the interest of the entire ecosystem.