Rating agencies BARC India and TAM India have formed a joint venture to set up a meter management company. The new entity will be called Meterology Data Pvt Ltd (MDL) and will commence its operations in the next couple of weeks.

Following this, TAM India will exit TV viewership measurement business effective February 29, 2016.

Last year, competing television rating agencies—BARC India and TAM Media – had decided to come together to form a single entity.

In MDL, the new entity, BARC India will have full management control with a 51 per cent stake, while TAM India – which includes Nielsen and Kantar – will have a 49 per cent stake.

As a part of the new system, all TAM India meters will be re-deployed in panel homes selected by BARC India’s sample design. This joint venture will help BARC India in growing its sample size.

Until now, both BARC India and TAM India have been generating and reporting TV Viewership data individually to the Industry.

Now, with the completion of this pact, BARC India will be the single provider of TV viewership data.

MDL’s role will be to run and manage the meter operations and supplying raw data to BARC India. TV Viewership data will be disseminated through BMW (BARC India Media Workstation).

MDL will manage the panel households and will also be responsible for future TV panel expansions.

“The Industry was eagerly waiting for this merger to be completed from the time we announced it in August last year. We are happy to inform that the joint venture company is complete and all set to kick-off operations,” said BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta.

TAM Media Research CEO LV Krishnan said, "We are happy to see the joint venture take shape. What is even more heartening is that TAM India's current 12,000 meters, which was built and constructed tirelessly over the last fifteen years will get combined to give BARC India a larger and robust TV panel sample base for the Industry.”

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO Viacom18, “This merger will have a positive impact on three fronts. Firstly, it will expedite the expansion of the measurement system in terms of both sample size and data depth. Secondly, it will ensure that there is only one currency that the media and entertainment industry deals in, thereby, increasing transparency in the system. Given that our audience is diverse and their content consumption habit is complex, this consolidation will allow seamless and accurate mapping of Indian television viewership.”

Meanwhile, TAM India will continue providing to the market the following services: AdEx services of TV, Print & Radio AdEx, Daily & Weekly Sales Index Reports, Bollywood & Music Monitoring Dashboards; Audience Measurement in Radio (RAM); Sports Sponsorship ROI Measurement (TAM Sports) and PR Measurement data & Audit services (Eikona) to its valuable clients.