Rivals TAM and BARC are set to join hands. After fighting over who reports television viewership ratings better, Nielsen India and Kantar Media Research — which through a joint venture have operated long-time rating agency TAM Media Research — are in talks with Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to explore a merger between the two.
Official close to the development said the talks for a possible merger started a few months ago at the global level. When contacted, both Nielsen India and BARC did not respond to e-mails sent by FE.
BARC released first television viewership ratings on April 29. The agency was set up by three apex bodies — Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), The Indian Society of Advertisers and The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) — after industry stakeholders were unhappy with TAM ratings. However, the findings were in line with viewership data released earlier by TAM Media Research. In the opening week, Star Plus retained leadership with gross rating points of 490, followed by Colors with 438 in the Hindi general entertainment genre. While Life OK followed Colors with 362 gross rating points and Zee stood at fourth position with 308 gross rating points.
This is not the first time that TV ratings system will be merged in India. In 2001, Nielsen (then AC Nielsen) and Kantar Media-owned TAM and ORM-MARG’s Intam were merged to provide a combined TV ratings services.
Meanwhile, observers say the merger would benefit the television industry which is divided over a few broadcasters using TAM data and others relying on BARC. According to a senior media planner, BARC collates data from 12,000 people meters at homes while TAM collates data from 12,200 people meters.
So when and if combined, the sample size will double up instantly providing a far better coverage in terms of ratings.