Funding of research has always been a strong argument point in television research. The likes of TAM Media Research have stated time and again that the number of people-meters, and hence, the sample size of the industry, can be increased if the industry is willing to fund the investment involved in the process.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting instituted Committee, chaired by Dr Amit Mitra of FICCI, has taken sample size and funding the research both into account in the Committee recommendations.
The recommendation states that the Committee has taken a serious view of the small sample size used by the two existing Rating Agencies in India. The Committee has also observed that the rural areas have been left out from the current system of TRP measurement. The Committee has recommended an increase in the sample size from 8,000 people-meter homes to 15,000 urban and rural households, over a period of two years, and then to 30,000 over the next three years covering urban areas, rural areas and small towns, J&K, North East, thereby providing a complete geographical coverage of the country.
In an official statement, TAM Media Research stated that the company had already begun work in this direction since last year. The MIB’s TRP Committee has estimated the total cost of expansion of TRP measurement over five years to be around Rs 660 crore, which as per the recommendation is “0.32 per cent, per year of the total TV industry size in India. The Committee feels that this level of expenditure should not be very difficult for the industry to meet”.
In the recommendation, the Committee has suggested that broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies should pay a certain percentage of their relevant turnovers to BARC on an annual basis to fund the expansion of sample size for TRP measurement.
In the current state, the bulk of investment, nearly 80 per cent, towards television ratings research is borne by broadcasters. Agencies pay some margin and advertisers have a more limited contribution. The recommendation to get advertisers and agencies to also pay a portion of their turnover can contribute positively towards ratings.
Pointing out one on-ground hurdle that this recommendation is likely to face, Paritosh Joshi, CEO, STAR CJ Network India (who has also been very active in the industry ratings conversations), explained, “There are many privately held entities in India, some that are not obliged to disclose turnover figures or such confidential information. This might mean that some may offer to voluntarily contribute their share and some would not. So, what is the practical way of going about this? How is one supposed to make broadcasters, advertisers or agencies contribute? And what happens to those who do not? These kinds of systems otherwise exist in markets such as South Africa, but they have not been put in place due to a diktat from any governing body. The industry got together and made it happen.”
How the industry is reacting to the MIB’s TRP Committee’s recommendations will get clearer over the next few days as more industry bodies get the time to discuss the recommendations and their responses to it.
(Additional inputs by Fatema Rajkotwala)
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