BARC teams up with IITs in a bid to improve audience measurement

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has partnered with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in an attempt to seek technology solutions for better TV audience measurement in India.

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has partnered with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in an attempt to seek technology solutions for better TV audience measurement in India.

As part of the partnership, IITians across the country were asked to suggest newer ways of measuring TV viewership habits of 836 million TV-owning individuals. Students from 10 IITs participated in the competition and presented their solutions to a jury.

The partnership is in line with BARC India’s philosophy of providing a robust TV viewership measurement to the country of 197 million TV homes.

How did IIT students help?

BARC India was seeking newer methods for channel, content, and ad identification. Additionally, it also sought an alternative to button-pushing and the meter used for capturing viewership data from homes.

IIT Kharagpur’s T.Y.S.S. Santosh won the Gold prize and a summer internship with BARC India for coming up with the best solution. Santosh’s solution has the potential to transform large conspicuous hardware in panel homes to user-friendly smart assistants. It can also reduce dependency on third parties for channel identification. IIT Kanpur won silver in the competition, while IIT Bombay bagged bronze.

Sharing his experience on winning the coveted prize, Santosh, a final year student at IIT Kharagpur, said, “We are happy to be the Gold winners in the battle between all IITs in this tough competition. BARC India’s challenging case study demanded working on inter-disciplinary components of tech that is hardware, software, machine learning and artificial intelligence to propose a new solution to the existing state of the art technology available with BARC India.”

Santosh added, “We are obliged to BARC India for offering us summer internships and look forward to be a part of this Great Place to Work and technologically-driven company — BARC India. We are looking forward to work on our proposed technology in a cross functional setup of teams,” as per a report in AdAge India.

All solutions presented by the students were platform-agnostic. The proposed solutions will be further tested for their feasibility. If proven, the solution would be adopted into the system to enhance the measurement service.

Highlighting the benefits of this collaborative approach with the sharpest minds in India for technology solutions, BARC India COO, Romil Ramgarhia, said, “Indian TV industry is dynamic and its needs are ever-evolving. India faces several unique issues such as power cuts, data connectivity challenges, the wide disparity in temperature and climatic conditions etc., all of which impact the collection of data. It thus is important for us to keep innovating and thinking ahead.

“We are delighted to see the young and bright minds from the most premier technology institute of India coming up with some extraordinary solutions. Through this partnership, we also want to encourage students to take technology from research labs to end users, impacting a million lives,” Ramgarhia said.

TV viewership in India

In its latest broadcast India survey, BARC assessed the co-viewing habits of 836 million TV-owning individuals across the nation. BARC found that 82 percent of people watch TV together – this could have an impact on the choice of content of the viewers, the survey noted.

As per the findings of its Broadcast India (BI) 2018 Survey, which was based on a sample study of 3 lakh homes in India, BARC found that the number of TV homes in India have increased by 7.5 per cent. India currently boasts of 298 million homes, of which 197 million have a TV set — this raises the opportunity of almost 100 million more TV homes in the country.

Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius

IITTV Viewership