Media measurement has been a part of the Indian media landscape for a really long time. All the way back to the 1930s in fact, when the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) was born. It took decades before circulation audits were, in some sense, superseded by readership measurement in the form of National Readership Survey (NRS) in the late 1970s, and later, Indian Readership Survey (IRS) which was birthed by a joint industry body, MRUC (Media Research Users’ Council).
What is noteworthy in these studies is that they were products of collaborative initiatives of the print industry itself. TV was measured from the beginning, by an independent, third party commercial entity. TV audience measurement had to wait until this decade for a joint industry body — BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council). MRUC and BARC are already looking at measuring varied manifestations of digital media. Once that happens, all media will be measured agnostically. Let us turn now to the role that an organisation like the American Media Ratings Council (MRC), plays. Wherever and whenever media is measured, there is always room for mistrust and discontent. MRC provides essential inputs: settings standards, providing oversight, conducting audits and remedying infirmities. Given that Indian measurement is already in the hands of joint industry bodies, these roles are integral to the work of BARC, MRUC and ABC.
BARC, MRUC and ABC provide forums for deliberating and establishing local viewability standards. There is, however, a very solid case for a forum to bring the various joint industry bodies together. But that is a whole
The author is principal, Provocateur Advisory