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BARC & Nielsen part ways, putting a question mark on Ekam’s future

Not so long ago, the question people were asking was – ‘When will Ekam launch?’, now with the latest developments, the question being asked is ‘Will Ekam ever be launched? It is learnt that the collaboration that BARC India had with Nielsen India for the digital measurement has ended. 

Senior industry sources in the know had told Adgully that there is a stalemate in the rollout process with both BARC and Nielsen holding each other responsible for the holdup. The sources further said that BARC has been withholding payment to Nielsen India as it feels that Nielsen has been unable to provide a suitable solution acceptable to all stakeholders. On the other hand, a senior media honcho informed that the matter had been referred to a BARC committee and added that Nielsen would be compensated for the work that it had put in over the last two years for Ekam. 

BARC India had put together a digital team consisting of Product, Tech, Operations, Business Development and today all but a hadnful have quit.

However, it is now learnt that BARC is in the process of developing its own digital measurement solution, putting to use its technical expertise. 

Read more: What is delaying Ekam’s rollout?

Meanwhile, Nielsen has expanded advertising measurement on YouTube’s mobile app with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to India as well as 25 other countries. This service builds on Nielsen’s current measurement coverage of YouTube ads on desktop and mobile web browsers to provide marketers independent and comprehensive cross-device measurement of advertising audiences on YouTube across computer and mobile devices. 

From the very outset, Google has been cooperating to provide relay logs to BARC for Content Measurement but refusing to integrate SDK as its a global app, which has put a spanner in the rollout process.

Giving more insights, Amit Nevrekar, brand & media consultant, said, “Ekam is quite an ambitious plan by BARC. But as BARC mentioned time and again, it wasn’t a technology issue, but consensus issue, so how does building in-house solve the puzzle?” 

He further said, “Google will still never integrate the SDK, digital ad ratings will still be participative, so census measurement across categories and brands still can’t happen.” 

Adding further, Nevrekar mentioned that this move is likely to take BARC back 3 years and “may lose credibility as number of challenges only increase with such approach”.

“The biggest challenge being Demo attribution – to build a Data Consortium and calibration algorithm for assigning demo by ad Ids will take a couple of years. Certifying the publishers for Ad Tagging is another time consuming exercise,” he added. 

According to Nevrekar, “The only thing in which BARC may have an advantage is Single Source Panel, but this may just be a half baked solution, which can never reflect true consumption for Content or Ads at census level in terms of impressions.” 

The Ekam suite of products would include: Ekam Pulse, Ekam Beam, Ekam Stream, Ekam Ad-Scan and Ekam Integra. Now with a question mark on Ekam’s rollout, industry is looking at how BARC India will salvage the situation.

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