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TELEVISION AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT - DESCRIPTION OF METHODOLOGY

 

  • Overview

  • Establishment Study - Coverage, Sample Size and Sample Selection

  • Listing Study

  • Control Variables and Panel Design

  • Panel Design

  • Profiling, Recruitment and Training

  • Panel Maintenance and Compliance

  • Panel Churn Policy

  • Viewing Data Capture

  • Watermark Technology – BAR-O-Meters

  • Watermark Embedder

  • Banner Image Reader Measurement Technology – TVM5 Meters

  • Recruitment and Installation

  • Metering Unit

  • Individual Viewer Identification

  • Data Capture, Storage, Transmission and Collection

  • Processing, Audience Estimation and Reporting

  • Validation

  • Weighting

  • Program Schedules and Channel Line-ups

  • Client Deliverables - BARC India Media Workstation (BMW)

  • Limitations and Permissible Use of BARC TV Audience Measurements

This Description of Methodology dated 28 September 2017 over-writes and replaces all earlier versions. It describes the measurement methods and processes utilized by BARC India including the most recent increase in the design sample to 33,000 panel HHs.  The document also provides details of new rules used during processing to maximize the quality and reliability of BARC India published audience estimates.  

The entire BARC India process can be broadly bucketed as follows:


·         Establishment Survey - A research study used to gather specific details of households and individuals to be used together with Census data in the preparation of universe estimates for TV audience characteristics – geographic, demographic, socio-economic status, etc. The Establishment Survey also serves as a randomly selected pool of TV owning households for use in the ongoing selection and recruitment of panel households
 
·         Listing Study- Supplements Establishment Survey in providing randomly selected pool of TV owning households for use in the ongoing selection and recruitment of panel households
 
·         Control Variables and Panel Design – Processes used to maintain panel that is representative of Universe 
 
·         Panel Locations & Identification - Identification of a specific sample locations
 
·         Panel Selection and Training- Selection, recruitment, meter installation & training of household members
 
·         Panel Management- Supervision of panel operations with strict adherence to established standards
 
·         Measurement and Capture of Viewing Data - In-home measurement technology used to identify & capture TV viewing events
 
·         Processing, Audience Estimation and Reporting- Process of error checking, pre-processing and attribution rules, validating, weighting, projecting to universe and delivering audience estimates to BARC India clients in a form suitable for reporting, analysis and commercial use
 
·         BARC India Media Workstation (BMW)- BARC India’s software application used to report and analyse audience data in the format required by individual customer segments
 
 
Given below is the overview of the high-level process flow:



 
The Universe Size of Total HHs, TV HHs, and their related demographic details was estimated from the Universe Establishment Survey, Broadcast India 2016. The study was commissioned by BARC India and covered 300,000 households across the country. The study estimated the Total and TV population of households and individuals, their location, demographic distribution, connection type, language preferences and other media consumption. To ensure credibility of the survey respondent data, the Research Agency performed ground quality checks, telephonic checks and real time workforce tracking checks. The information collected from each survey respondent included the household head’s name, family member demographics, number of durables owned, education of the household’s chief wage earner and physical address. The Establishment Study (as well as the Panel) cover all parts of India except certain geographies that are unreachable due to harsh terrain, distance or areas with political unrest and safety concerns to field workers. These ‘uncovered’ geographies together account for approx. 0.6% of households and 0.7% of individuals as per the Census of India 2011. Since these areas are not covered in the study, their estimated Universe Size is also excluded from the BARC India TV Universe Estimates.

Uncovered areas include Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Kashmir valley, Kargil, Ladakh and some parts of Arunachal Pradesh.  Going forward BARC India may include such areas in future Establishment Surveys, based on support received from government and official agencies, which help it overcoming the stated challenges.

The Universe size of all HHs and TV Owning HHs has been estimated using data obtained from Broadcast India 2016, applied to population growth projections from the Census of India projected through 1 March 2016.

Based on experience, the average success/response rate of panel recruitment is approximately 8%. Based upon this, since BARC India needed to additionally recruit approx. 36,000 TV Households (14,000 of churn and 22,000 additional to move to 33,000 and then 44,000 Households), address details of around 450,000 TV households were required. To acquire additional sample locations/addresses for the remaining houses in geographic areas where the sample size was low and falling short based on the determinant variables, BARC India commissioned a supplemental study called the ‘Listing Study’. As with the BI-2016 Study, stringent quality checks were conducted on the Listing Study to ensure quality of data. This Listing Study is conducted in phases depending on the data required. 


Post rigorous statistical analyses, variables were identified which have the highest impact on TV viewing, and are hence considered for representation of the TV universe (Control Variables). Of these, the Primary Control Variables considered are State, Town Class location of the household and the household’s socio-economic status as determined by the New Consumer Classification System (NCCS), an industry agreed upon standard.

Respecting the order of the Government of India, effective with the April-June 2017 calendar quarter BARC India initiated a process that phases out all Analog Cable HHs from the panel in all State Groups except TN/Pondicherry, with a completion deadline of having No Analog Cable panel HHs within any State Group except TN/Pondicherry from 1 July, 2017 onwards. The deadline for the conversion of TN/Pondicherry will be set later. All other Modes of Signal Reception continue to be covered in the BARC India panel.

The NCCS classification of a household is based on two main variables:

1.    Education of the household’s chief wage earner, defined as the person who contributes the most to payment of household expenses.

2.    Household ownership of 11 specific durable goods. The 11 durables collectively owned by household members and considered in the NCCS classification of households in India are as follows:

a.    Electricity Connection
b.    Ceiling Fan
c.    LPG Stove
d.    Two-Wheeler
e.    Colour TV
f.     Refrigerator
g.    Washing Machine
h.    Personal Computer/ Laptop
i.     Car/Jeep/Van
j.     Air Conditioner
k.    Agricultural Land
 
There are 12 grades in the NCCS - A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1, D2, E1, E2, and E3. The table below shows the various NCCS categories, where A1 represents the highest class and E3 being the lowest. 



 

The initial panel of 22,000 HHs was allocated per state group/metro based on RE concept which is a type of statistical sampling outcome described as the deviation in percentage of the observed value from the actual/expected value from the selected sample. Based on learnings over the course of time, the statistical methodology will be updated.
 
As the sample size is increasing to 33,000 HHs and beyond, REs are naturally reducing. For the increased sample, BARC India has also considered improved weighting efficiencies for designing the panel (Lesser difference between individual with lowest weight and individual with highest weight = Higher Weighting Efficiency).
 
Statistical weighting allocations are done to ensure proper representation of the sample to the Universe. Detailed calculation of all panel control variables (much beyond the reporting cuts) was used to select the BARC India sample. The panel design considered each individual State, detailed Town Class and NCCS; along with other panel control variables - Languages Spoken at Home + Language Most Often Spoken at Home, Education of the Highest Educated Individual in the household and Mode of Signal Reception were used to design the sample. To illustrate - for designing the panel, the town classes were split into (1) Mega Cities (population 75L+), (2) 40-75L, (3) 10-40L, (4) 5-10L, (5) 2-5L, (6) 1-2L, (7) Below 1L Urban, (8) Above 5k Rural, (9) 2-5k Rural and (10) Below 2k Rural.
 
All cities with population above 5 lakhs as per Census 2011 were selected individually (except for Srinagar). Sample allocations for all other town classes within a State are based on the town-class group which is further allocated to PPS (Population Proportionate Sampling) among TV owning Households. Selection of actual Towns /Villages was performed by means of systematic random sampling after arranging available Towns / Villages in descending order basis their TV owning household populations.
 
To ensure against any convenience sampling on the field, ‘clusters’ (or groups) of eligible HHs are created by BARC India based on panel control variables. All households in a single cluster are equally eligible to be recruited, and any single household is representative of the relevant cell that the cluster aims to fill. IDs of these HHs are fed into a central ID Master, which uploads the address and other relevant details of the household, along with a priority, to the mobile tablets used by assigned field executives. The field executives are expected to approach only the HHs which are in the cluster, and convince them to join the panel. Once one HH in a cluster agrees to be a panelist, the remaining un-attempted HHs move back into the main pool for future use, and HHs that are rejected / refuse to be a panelist are churned out of the database.
 
The panel is statistically representative of the entire country. To make the reporting sample representative of the Universe, weights are applied to the reporting sample to conform it to Universe proportions and convert household and individual panelist viewing events to Universe Estimates of TV viewing (more details in Section ‘Processing, Audience Estimation and Reporting’ below).
 

The field recruiter goes to the HHD (household) sample location assigned by BARC India, explains the purpose of the BARC India TV Measurement Service and then seeks consent from the chief wage earner and householder for registering with BARC India. If the HHD is eligible the field recruiter asks the householder to provide specific household and household member information via a standardized panel recruiting questionnaire administered by the recruiter using a computer tablet app. Presently, fieldwork for panel recruitment and ongoing maintenance is handled by Meterology Data Ltd. and Panel Management Agencies (PMA) as appointed by MDL.

An integrated “Panel Management Software” (PMS) links the mobile tablet that the field executives carry to the server, thereby enabling capture and transfer of panel Household details via the wireless cellular network directly to BARC India’s central office server. Automated validation checks in-built in the PMS enable many quality control checks to ensure panel health. This provides BARC India with a fully automated data collection process for use at all stages of the panel HH relationship.

Strict confidentiality is maintained at all steps of the panel recruitment, training and maintenance process. Ongoing hygiene checks are performed on PMA fieldwork by BARC India and its Quality Control and Analytics (DQA) partners.


The viewing behaviour of panel homes is reported to BARC India daily. The BARC India validation process analyses household and individual viewership behaviours, highlighting behaviours considered to be outliers (at individual/household level). Based upon validation results, Measurement Science asks the PMA to perform coincidental checks on these homes either telephonically or physically. Certain suspicious outliers are also checked directly by BARC India – bypassing the PMA. BARC India also involves a separate vigilance agency to check on outliers that it considers highly suspicious. Non-compliance is categorised as a behavioural issue of the household or a technical issue with the meter. Any discrepancy in information is noted at this stage. If it is a behavioural issue, the household is then re-trained. If non-compliance continues, then the panel home is dropped. If there is a technical issue with the meter, then the issue is resolved by the BARC India field and technical teams.

Panelist training and compliance maintenance are priority issues for the PMA. Pursuant to BARC India policy, those households that exhibit substandard compliance, when compared to BARC India standards, are retrained. If, after retraining, a household continues to underperform, it is churned out of the panel.

The training protocol specifies two post installation training visits. The first visit is generally made 3-5 days post installation and includes training HH members in person, viewing button pressing, observing the working condition of equipment, verifying that the user manual is provided and available for use, etc. The second visit, generally made 10-12 days post installation, includes coincidental checks – whether TV is ON or OFF, channel viewed and persons viewing with retraining as needed in button pressing and confirming that the family member button assignments are correct. The PMS application also has a pre-loaded training module for this purpose.

To ensure up-to-date and correct household data as well as for periodic re-training, the Field SOP mandates a complete demographic check every six months of each panel HH.


A policy of systematically rotating panel homes is prescribed by BARC India policy, ensuring that panel secrecy is maintained, precluding long term panellist fatigue and allowing the installed panel sample of TV households to reflect changes that are occurring over time in the universe of TV households. Beginning with the second year, after the initial panel installation has been completed and the panel is firmly established, a four (4) year churn/forced turnover cycle is initiated. Under this procedure, the total India sample, including open clusters, is randomly divided into four exhaustive and unique replicates, each replicate representing 25% of all clusters in the current sample. Each forced churn sample replicate is assigned one of four consecutive 12 month periods (i.e. 4 replicates over 4 years equals the requisite 48-month sample replacement cycle) during which all panel households within that replicate will be de-installed and replaced with households randomly selected from a new replacement sample replicate. Ideally, every year 25% will be replaced as a result of the normal and forced churn and sample replacement policy. After the initial 48-month period, the sample will be churned on a FIFO (First In-First Out) basis, ensuring adequate replacement before a household is churned out.

However, in actual practice Panel Churn and the weekly rotation of the panel carried out by BARC India has been significantly higher that prescribed level. This has mainly been on account of BARC India’s efforts to counter Viewership Malpractices, viz., attempts at panel infiltration and tampering.

To ensure the reporting sample will not suffer from forced churn, replacement sample households are selected, trained and monitored for a minimum period of two weeks after which the replacement household is activated and the original household is de-installed.

To respect privacy concerns of panel households, the maintenance supervisors hired by the PMA are assigned responsibility for a specific group of individual panel households. Earlier in the development of the BARC India panel, different PMA personnel would visit a household for recruiting, installation, training and maintenance purposes. This practice made it difficult for BARC India or PMA management to assign accountability in situations where multiple field recruiters were visiting the same panel home. In the current situation, the PMA hires Maintenance Supervisors (MS) across its office locations and assigns each MS with responsibility for a specific group of BARC India sample locations. Each MS is responsible for recruiting, installing, training and maintaining the panel relationship with their assigned sample locations, ensuring proper compliance and provisioning BARC India with household and household member TV viewing data. 


At the present time BARC India supports the use of two different TV set metering technologies, one that captures watermarks embedded in the audio transmission of TV channel transmissions and another technology that uses the screen TV station banner image to identify the channel being viewed.    

This technology captures TV usage, TV station identification and individual viewing through the use of two digital devices, one installed by the broadcaster (Embedder) at station head end/transmission site(s) and the other device, referred to as the “BAR-O-Meter”, that is installed on each TV set in the panel household. 


Embedder equipment is placed at the Broadcaster’s headend where the Channel signal transmission begins. The device embeds a unique watermarked code in the audio component of the program content workflow. This code consists of the Channel ID & the time stamp. Each channel has its own unique code (or codes, in case the channel has taken a back-up). Once the unique watermark IDs are generated and assigned to each broadcast station cooperating with BARC India, the embedder is installed at the broadcaster’s headend transmission site and a special station specific electronic card is inserted. The results in the embedder continuously placing a time stamped channel name and watermark ID in the station’s content workflow. The watermark is an inaudible audio code made available to TV broadcasters that subscribe to and support the BARC India measurement of TV audiences. A master list of TV Station Watermarked IDs is stored on the BARC India server and downloaded to BAR-O-Meters for the identification and measurement of TV Station viewing. 


This measurement  technology takes advantage of each TV station’s transmission of a unique Logo and Channel ID image that is displayed on TV screen of digital TV sets or TV sets supported with a Set-Top-Box.   The banner image reading meter used by BARC India is called the TVM5.  
After receiving householder consent, the PMA recruiter connects the meter, BAR-O-Meter or TVM5, to the TV set and establish a wireless network connection with the BARC India server. The connection process automatically creates and assigns a unique HHID for that household. Once an ID is created for a HH, it is unique to that HH and is never re-used or assigned to another household. 
Each meter system consists of a main unit, a display unit and probes that for BAR-O-Meters capture the audio output of the TV set and for TVM5 meters captures the channel banner image.

Each main unit is equipped with a microprocessor and a modem.  The main unit is placed near the TV set being measured in the panel household. Each main unit has a probe attached to it that is either placed near the TV set or connected to the line or audio out of the TV.  The probe capture the identity of each tuned TV signal and feeds this information to the main unit where it is time stamped and stored for transmission as viewing events to BARC India central site collection servers assigned to BAR-O-Meter and TVM5 measurement systems. 
The method of individual person’s viewer identification for both BAR-O-Meters and TVM5 meters is a button pushing remote handheld device.  The measurement system provides  one handheld remote control unit for each metered TV set. The handheld device has buttons made available for assignment to household members who are asked as part of their panel participation to press their assigned button when they are viewing TV.  Each panel household member aged 2 years and older is assigned a button on the remote control handheld unit.  Separate buttons on the remote handheld device are reserved for use by guests, entering their gender and age bracket when viewing TV.
 
The TV set metering systems continuously and passively captures TV viewing events in real time, recording the time and duration of channel tuning events and capturing the viewership events of individual members ages 2+ that have pressed their viewer ID button to confirm their presence in the audience.  

The main unit stores the individual time stamped events in memory for transmission to the BARC India server at predetermined intervals throughout the viewing day.  The BAR-O-Meter and TVM5 TV viewing event data are then received by BARC India collection server where collected TV event data are simultaneously backed up and made available to pre-processing software.   
 
The data from the collection server is first pre-processed, where errors and inconsistencies that may creep in due to technical issues are cleaned up. In this state, attribution rules are applied.

Data collected from the meters is in seconds. However, in keeping with international standards, all validations rules are on viewing sessions (blocks of time of TV Set on in the HH – Tuning; and of each individual viewing TV - Viewing) and reported data is in clock minutes. Hence, all data needs to be converted to clock minutes (i.e. HH:MM format, e.g. 12:00:00 to 12:01:00, 12:01:00 to 12:02:00 and so on).
 
Individual Viewing Sessions within a clock minute: For both BAR-O-Meter and TVM5 measured TV sets there are rules applied to the events that attribute viewing to one and only one TV channel for an entire clock minute.  In each system, only one channel is eligible to receive viewing credit for each clock minute throughout the viewing day. If an individual is viewing a TV channel for 30 seconds or more in a clock minute, the rules are straightforward and viewing is attributed to that channel for the entire clock minute.  
 
The rules become more complex when viewing during a clock minute involves multiple channels for a total of 30 or more seconds. Additional rules are required as described below for processing event data.   
 
Channel Viewing Sessions within a clock minute: Individuals can view multiple channels within a single clock minute. However, only one channel will be assigned the viewing in each clock minute. To assign this viewing, the following rules are applied.
 
Rule 1 - Only one channel watched: The viewing for the entire clock minute gets attributed to that channel
 
Rule 2 - Multiple channels watched with different viewing durations: Viewing is attributed to the channel with the maximum viewing duration.
 
Rule 3 - Multiple channels watched with two or more channels having the same maximum viewing duration: There are two scenarios for this rule-
 
Scenario 3a – One of the channels with the maximum viewing duration moves into the next clock minute. In this case, viewing is attributed to the channel moving into the next clock minute.
 
Scenario 3b – None of the channels with the maximum viewing duration moves into the next clock minute. In this case, viewing is attributed to a random channel from among those channels having the maximum viewing duration, using a random allotment algorithm.
 
It is pertinent to note that the 30 seconds or more rule, wherever applied, refers to a total of 30 seconds in a clock minute – whether consecutive or not.
 
The pre-processed minute level data is then subjected to further processing with software that performs data validation and weighing.
Validation of viewership data is a daily process performed at two levels – Validation rules that validate the data for identification of statistical outliers and set of more stringent rules are applied to channels that have been confirmed as having attempted tampering of panel households following a rigorous process of Vigilance investigations and raw data analyses by Data Scientists. The validation rules and the outlier process is fully automated aided by machine learning which keeps improving with large series of data.

Those households and individuals that fail validation rules are identified as outliers and removed from the reporting data of the day.  
The Weighting process assigns a weight or factor to each household and each household member that reflects their proportionate representation of the universe. Sample weighting is a statistical process used to compensate for imbalances that may exist between the daily In-tab reporting sample of BARC India panel households/individuals and the estimated universe of Indian TV households/individuals published by BARC India. Weights are applied separately at Individual and Household levels. The twin data sources used by BARC India in preparing Annual Universe Estimates are Census 2011 updated to reflect the current year’s population and BARC India’s BI-2016

Establishment Survey that defines households with a TV set by state and Town Class together with their NCCS profile.

The final weighted and projected audience viewing output is encrypted and made available to BARC India subscriber through the BARC India Media Workstation (BMW) software; a powerful reporting and analysis platform developed for BARC India to present India TV audience data in a form suitable for use by subscriber media companies, media agencies and advertisers.

On a daily basis, BARC India monitors the output of pre-processing, processing as measured by the daily In-tab for key sample strata.

The In-tab is defined as the number of HHs and Individuals in the final output. Fluctuations in the In-tab level are typically the result of new HH recruitments, panel churn, weather and environmental events that impacts viewership, GSM network problems that affect data collection and changes in household and household member viewing behaviour. As previously mentioned, statistical weighting of the In-tab sample is a best practices method of compensating daily variations in the In-tab sample composition.
 
From a reporting perspective, BARC India reports the following-

State Groups x Town Class: 39 markets. The 6 Mega Cities are reported individually; 10-75L towns and <10L Urban towns are reported separately in 5 State Groups while all Urban is clubbed in the other State Groups; and Rural is reported as a single unit in each state.

Gender: M/F

Age Groups: 2-14 yrs, 15-21 yrs, 22-30 yrs, 31-40 yrs, 41-50 yrs, 51-60 yrs, 61 yrs+

NCCS Groups: NCCS A, NCCS B, NCCS ABC and NCCS CDE.
BARC India has contracted an independent company as its partner to collate the play-out data aired by cooperating BARC India broadcasters, ensuring correct integration of the broadcast data stream thrown out by the embedder at each TV Station and the watermarked time stamped BAR-O-Meter viewing events. Currently more than 500 channels are being monitored. The monitored content is downlinked and continuously monitored for each BARC India watermarked channel. Automatic content recognition software (“ACR”) technology also known as audio signature or audio fingerprinting technology is used to identify programs, promotions and ads.
 
BMW is BARC India’s licensed software distributed to BARC India media, agency and advertiser stakeholders for their use in audience reporting, analyzing, targeting and planning. Each Thursday, on a regular weekly basis, BARC India issues daily reports of TV audience viewing using the BMW tool. The BMW software tool enables the end user client to access customized reports, graphical representation, individual analysis, audience movement and other features that make it easier for users to measure performance and establish trends.

Some of the key features of BMW which are accessible to the client include:
 
·         AudView: Programme and Time-band analysis based on defined target group

·         AdView: Deeper advertising analysis through identifying and scheduling ad-spots

·         PlanView: Automated process of media planning (Ad budgets/reach/frequency/CPRs)

·         TeleView: In-depth multi-channel audience analysis using videos

·         Classic Grid analysis: Builds table with daily audience values (audience variables) for each program and time-bands.
 
·         Rating Curve: Allows comparison of different audience variable curves for several targets, channels, days, at the same time.
 
·         Ad-Split: Provides Split Beam Advertising spot-monitoring data.

Separately, BARC India has published documents that describe in detail the policies regarding the permissible use and public disclosure of BARC India data.