Zee Media’s exit from BARC: Will ISA issue fresh advisory?

The TV, especially news television, ratings tangle has raised its ugly head again. Following the latest development of Zee Media exiting from BARC ratings, ripples will be felt across the industry in the coming days. Communicating about its decision, Zee in a statement issued said that it is a “milestone for the whole news media industry”.

“There are more than 5-8 million people associated with news and broadcasting industry at large, who get impacted adversely if incorrect reporting is published by the rating agencies, and it has been observed in last the few months that the news genre is being shown shrunk by BARC to extend the benefit to GEC and other genres at large,” the communiqué alleged.

Zee Media had raised its concern multiple times to BARC and had questioned the whole structure and transparency of its operations towards the news industry. The broadcaster complained that the rating agency has failed to rectify the news industry’s and Zee Media’s concerns.

Also read:

Zee Media pulls out its 14 news channels from BARC ratings

Is being taken off DD Free Dish the prime reason for Zee Media’s exit from BARC?

Zee Media takes on Govt, moves Delhi HC against I&B Ministry

MIB has delivered justice, say small broadcasters on simultaneous uplinking order

Approval given to Zee Media to uplink in Ku-Band revoked

How will the ad industry react?

Where TV channels and ratings are concerned, discussions on TV advertising always follow. In this case, the industry is awaiting reactions from advertisers as well as industry bodies of the ad world.

The pertinent question being asked at this moment is whether the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) will come up with a fresh advisory for its members in view of the latest development. It may be recalled that in April this year, ISA had issued an advisory to its members about advertising with those TV channels that have exited BARC.

The advisory, dated April 27, 2022, stated that brands were only wasting money by giving ads to those channels which have opted out of the BARC ratings. “Attention of advertisers is invited to the practice of some platforms which do not subscribe to the established system of measurement, as jointly agreed by all stakeholders. Advertisers may independently assess the situation and make an informed decision with respect to such platforms while dealing with advertisements,” the ISA’s advisory stated.

The 70-year-old ISA is no ordinary industry body. Its members include some of India’s biggest advertisers, such as Reliance, Amazon, Airtel, etc., and as such any such advisories can have a direct bearing on the advertising revenues of TV channels.

Will the ISA come up with a fresh advisory asking its members to stay away from TV channels exiting BARC? And should it issue such an advisory, the consequences could be major for the broadcasting industry, especially the news genre. Hence, it is a pertinent wait and watch.

There seems to be no end in sight to the perennial ratings woes for the Indian television industry, with various stakeholders, at various points in time, expressing dissatisfaction with the way the ratings body functions. Even after the resumption of the news TV ratings by BARC – after the TV ratings manipulation scam that jolted this industry in 2020 – the controversy has refused to die down. Some factions of the broadcasters have continued to express their dissatisfaction with the ratings body and so much so that news broadcaster NDTV exited the ratings system in March 2022.


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