The discussions invariably turned towards ratings at the exchange4media Conclave in Mumbai on June 11 with Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World; LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, and Paritosh Joshi, CEO, STAR CJ India, debating the various aspects in the session titled ‘Regulated Ratings: How does it impact the Media Ecosystem?’.
The annual flagship event of the exchange4media Group, the Conclave is special this year as it marked the commencement of the Group’s 10th Anniversary celebrations. The theme for the Conclave this year was ‘Rebooting the Indian media and advertising industry’. The exchange4media Conclave 2010 was presented by Dainik Jagran. CNEB was the Associate Sponsor.
Session Chairperson and Group Chief Editor, exchange4media Group Pradyuman Maheshwari started the session by stating that almost everybody had a view on ratings and that there had been a debate over the past few months whether the ratings had been leading to a degradation of content.
To this, Joshi remarked that broadcasters would always aspire to get more viewers as they wanted more and more people to watch their shows.
Balsara stressed on the need for an accurate system, which measured the number of viewers of a channel. He said, “We need that information to decide how much to pay for advertisements on a certain channel.”
When Maheswari asked whether the current ratings system was accurate or not, Balsara replied “The current system that we have is a sample survey and not a census. Surveys are prone to sampling errors and we can attempt to make it perfect by upgrading the technology, but it will cost a lot of money.”
Krishnan of TAM spoke about the need of a measurement currency and said that measurement was needed in extremely fragmented market. He also said that there was an essential need to go rural.
Joshi of Star CJ noted, “One cannot base audience volume on supposed good content. Volume does not translate into likeability.” He gave the example of the 26/11 terror attacks and the Mangalore air crash and said that even though a lot of people had watched it, it did not mean they had a pleasant linking towards it.
Talking about the need for a regulatory body, TAM’s Krishnan said that if the broadcasters did not get its act together, the government would. He also explained that the focus would be on the rural markets and even TAM was planning to cover the rural market for its data as there had been a change in the digital consumption in rural markets.
Maheshwari then asked the panellists whether the broadcasters were open to guidelines being suggested by the government. To this, Krishnan replied that he was fine with the guidelines, but added that they should not be discriminatory.
On whether we were too rating dependent, Joshi said, “We are too ratings dependent as the broadcasters are dependent on advertising.”
Balsara concluded the session by saying, “The TV industry is too advertising dependent. In India, 80 per cent of the revenue comes from advertising, while only 20 per cent comes from subscriptions. It is the other way round in countries such as the UK.”