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The fact that BARC ratings are the only currency that the TV ecosystem has, is not up for any debate anymore. The absence of ratings in the news genre made it clear how difficult it is for the advertisers, the media agencies and the broadcasters to do business.
“News is probably the best frequency builder for advertisers today, given the coverage it can provide in a country like India with so many regional languages and nuances and ratings just helps in validating the decisions that we as planners take and the choice of channels,” says Sanchita Roy, Havas Media Group India.
It’s been close to six months that BARC ratings are back for the news genre. How has it helped in decision making, especially since the last two years had no rating system in place for the genre?
We have seen an exponential growth in News as a genre on the back of the pandemic and other global crises. There will always be a demand for News, the platform for consumption however may change. Intuitively, all of us would agree that the genre works/delivers even with no ratings. Ratings just help in validating the decisions that we as planners take and the choice of channels. Not only that, ratings also allow one to rationalize the cost, thereby bringing in more efficiencies for advertisers/clients.
How important are ratings when it comes to media investments and spending ad money? What are the other factors you consider?
What drives ratings today is engagement, the quality of audience and the audience experience with content on the platform. Today audiences are exposed to a plethora of content that is easily accessible across multiple platforms. Therefore, it becomes so much more important to ensure that you not only have the right reach and distribution but also the right content, which in turn would lead to higher time spent/engagement on the platforms. That determines the ratings. So, the more time audiences spend watching a channel/program, the higher its ratings will be. This is true for all genres, including news.
Currently, BARC is the only currency that is there in the industry basis which millions are being spent. Any consumer connect will obviously throw some light on what is working on-ground in terms of channels/programs but to arrive at efficiencies you need a proper metric on which to base your decisions. The reality is BARC throws light only on TV viewership data. However, there is a lot of news consumption that is also happening on digital platforms today which unfortunately is not getting captured anywhere. This, I think, is the biggest challenge facing our industry today but in the absence of any other data source, the only option is to look at BARC.
How critical is reach for a news broadcaster? Are ad rates and reach directly proportional?
Reach is the number of people who watch a particular channel within a specified period of time. The first requirement for any channel is to ensure sufficient distribution/coverage so as to ensure maximum exposure to the potential audience base. News is probably the best frequency builder for advertisers today, given the coverage it can provide in a country like India with so many regional languages and nuances.
Talking of reach, how do you think having a strong digital presence helps in amplification? Do you give more preference to networks that offer bundled deals?
Today, there is a lot of media consumption that is happening across multiple digital channels through the smartphone. Therefore, having a strong digital presence not only helps in amplification but also ensures that one is reaching out to the potential audience set no matter where the consumption is happening.
Secondly, campaign objectives determine the deals that we buy on behalf of our clients. So if a client brief demands that we look at offline plus online presence on news as a genre we will go ahead and do it. Finally, it’s about understanding the consumer decision journey that will form the base of all recommendations.
With the festive season around the corner, what are the factors you are considering while doing business with a broadcaster? Any genre that is leading the charts?
Again, it’s a very fragmented media ecosystem today, you need to be present across genres to ensure maximum visibility, especially during the festive season which is otherwise very cluttered. Hence, depending on what the end goals are we would be looking at options with broadcasters to better deliver on our client’s business objectives.