India's television ratings agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), also the world's largest, has tied up with ratings agencies from three other countries to form what could possibly be a global standard body—a platform for assessing viewership of TV channels and their programmes. The new body GAMMA, or Global Alliance for Media Measurement, will also take into account new advancements in technology as well as consumption of content, including digital videos. BARC's collaboration with France's Médiamétrie, Canada's Numeris and Japan's Video Research is expected to lead to the development of common technical standards and operational procedures. This will, according to a BARC official announcement earlier on Wednesday, “benefit the existing currency services each member operates in their respective market through their current organisation and measurement partners.”
Audience measurement sector veteran Brad Bedford has been appointed global MD of GAMMA. The new entity comes into existence as the world's biggest audience measurement agency, covering a population of more than 1.5 billion and a combined ad spend of 78 billion dollars.
“[GAMMA] offers a tremendous platform to learn from our peers, and contribute,” said Partho Dasgupta, CEO of BARC. Said Bedford, “There is an ever-increasing demand for cross-device measurement internationally and the partnering of these audience measurement companies seeks to facilitate continued movement in that direction. I am truly honoured to represent this effort on a global scale. We are confident GAMMA will be a source of great knowledge sharing and continued learning for the industry.”
BARC was formed as a joint industry company to measure Indian TV viewership a few years ago. It was an alternative to the earlier agency, TAM, run by AC Nielsen. BARC represents broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies. The ratings figures provided by it is the industry-accepted indicator to the popularity of various TV channels across various socio-economic segments and areas, as well that of different programmes. This, in turn, is crucial to how much advertising money is spent by various brands through their media planners.