New TV ratings agency BARC ties up with France’s Mediametrie

21 Jan 2014


In a new development in India's recently controversial television rating business, the TV audience measurement company Broadcast Audience Research Council has roped in Mediametrie of France for key technology services and licensing for its proposed measurement system.

With this tie-up, BARC (not to be confused with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) is set to hit the market with its TV ratings starting October this year.

Calling it the first step towards making BARC TV ratings a reality, company chairman Punit Goenka said the technical committee and the management had scouted the global marketplace for suitable technology and finalised Mediametrie.

''We will take a quantum jump in technology for audience measurement in the country with this,'' he said.

Mediametrie is a joint industry body operating the TV, internet and radio currency ratings systems in France. According to the company website, they are pioneers in the development and usage of watermarking technology in audience research and have been using this successfully for the last seven years. The technology is used in three currency markets - France, Morocco and the Netherlands.

Under the arrangement, Mediametrie will provide technological know-how and licenses to BARC to use their TV metering system and also help BARC procure its own metering hardware.

According to Mediametrie's senior vice-president Benoit Cassaigne, its audio watermarking technology is very accurate and can measure data when it is simulcast.

An audio watermark is similar to a watermark on a photo, but is applied to audio or sound instead of video or an image. It is a marker embedded in an audio signal, typically to identify ownership of copyright for that audio. Watermarking is the process of embedding information into a signal (audio, video or pictures) in a way that is difficult to remove. If the signal is copied, then the information is also carried in the copy.

A signal may carry several different watermarks at the same time. Watermarking has become increasingly important to enable copyright protection and ownership verification.

BARC, launched in 2011, is a non-profit entity that is 60-per cent owned by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), while the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and the Indian Advertisers Agencies Association of India (AAAI) have a 20-per cent stake each.

The council is in advanced stage of finalising a hardware partner and is expected to soon make an announcement in this regard, company officials said in Mumbai. Shashi Sinha, chairman of BARC's technical committee, said Mediametrie will assist the council in procuring its own metering hardware.

''We are at a very advanced stage of commercial discussions and will shortly announce the hardware partner. The plan is to have 25,000 meters across 20,000 homes from day one of TV ratings hitting the market,'' he said.

Without going into details, Sinha said the pricing will be comparable with what is being charged for 9,600-odd meters that are currently installed by the existing ratings service provider.

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