BARC India mitigates impact of landing page on TV viewership

As a part of its ongoing ‘Data Validation Quality Initiative’ aimed at improving measurement science and mitigating impact on viewership of extraneous factors, BARC India has announced introducing algorithms into its data validation method to mitigate the impact of landing page on viewership data across all genres of channels. Data release for Week 34, 2020, data starting 22 August 2020, and release date 03 September 2020 reflected the new initiative.

Commenting on this, BARC India Measurement Science & Business Analytics chief Dr. Derrick Gray said, “The results of hundreds of hours of research and several months of rigorous development and testing are very promising. BARC India will now be able to mitigate any landing page anomaly to better reflect the viewer’s choice. The existing method was based on symptomatic statistics and we have improved upon it with a method that directly uses inferential statistics to deliver better results across all genres.”

Over the last three years, BARC India has received extensive feedback from its stakeholders on the potential ‘forced viewing’ created due to the practice of using Landing Pages. Basis the study undertaken by BARC India, its Oversight Committee and its Technical Committee it was concluded that use of a Landing Page by a channel exaggerates viewership estimates by ‘forcing viewership’. Statistical evidence also demonstrated that use of Landing Pages exaggerates ratings estimates. Therefore, inclusion of this false exaggeration in the ratings would mean that BARC India would not be accurately estimating and reporting ‘What India Watches’. 

Sunil Lulla

Complimenting the efforts of Dr. Gray and his team, BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla, further added, “Considering that the data provided by BARC India builds the currency of the advertising trade, we consistently strive to ensure that our data capture, representation and reporting be as scientific and accurate as possible. This new validation rule will further strengthen the rating currency and provide a level playing field to small and large broadcasters.”

“The ‘Data Validation Quality Initiative’ instituted by BARC India in June 2019 under the supervision of the Oversight Committee involves ongoing industry stakeholder consultations and internal reviews to identify dynamic improvement needed to continue strengthening the robustness of its ratings”, noted BARC India Board Oversight Committee member Nakul Chopra.

In June 2019, the BARC India Board tasked the Oversight Committee to ‘review the effectiveness of the current practice of measuring and isolating abnormal increases in reach and to recommend changes, if any’.  Post an extensive review, the Oversight Committee suggested that, whilst the existing method was reasonable, it was based on symptomatic statistics and if possible, should be improved, or replaced, with a method that directly uses inferential statistics.