23 Oct 2017
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Channels having multiple slots on a platform are reported as a single channel: BARC

MUMBAI: Broadcasters who resort to dual frequency as a strategy to increase their viewership numbers have some good news.

As per the policy of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, even if a particular channel is available on multiple slots or feeds on a particular platform, the viewership measurement agency’s Bar-o-Meters would read all of them as one channel and would report its ratings as a single channel as long as all/multiple feeds carry the same unique watermark.

Dual frequencies are deployed by broadcasters to ensure more sampling of their channel in the hope of increasing their viewership.

The issue of dual frequency erupted when some news broadcasters adopted this strategy to beat their rivals. They bought dual frequencies on several distribution platforms to increase their numbers. Clearly, having multiple frequencies does help in increasing viewership however, there is a distribution cost to it.

BARC-cover-new-logoIn effect, multiple instances of a channel on a single platform are not very dissimilar from its availability across multiple platforms or distribution modes, BARC India stated.

BARC India has deployed a technology that measures viewership of a watermarked channel irrespective of the platform it is available on and the number of instances on that platform.

The agency uses audio watermarking to track content through its broadcast cycle. A code is inserted into the audio channel of the TV signal that transmits through distribution platforms and it cannot be deleted or overwritten in the cryptographic family it adopts. This, BARC India says, increases the integrity and reliability of data.

Audio watermarking has another advantage of being platform-agnostic. Since the content is finger-printed with a unique watermarked ID that cannot be tampered with, its viewership can be tracked irrespective of the feed being carried on multiple platforms.