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Broadcasters’ panel prefers one rating system

15-May-2001
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Broadcasters’ panel prefers one rating system

There should be only one system for rating TV programmes in the country, according to broadcasters’ committee, which was set up recently to review the current system of TAM and INTAM rating systems. The five-member committee, with representatives from various TV channels, has put together a report, which states that ‘‘the two systems in our country are creating confusion among the data users.’’ The report has been submitted to the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).

IBF, which is an apex body for television broadcasters, had formed a technical committee in December 2000 to review the present system of rating TV programmes and to suggest parameters for a better system. The committee held three meetings in January, March and April, and has now finalised a report, which advocates a singular ratings system. However, it will take some time before the one-rating system is put in place, say sources in the television industry.

The five-member committee reviewed the performance of TAM and INTAM ratings systems on the basis of cost, coverage and sampling etc, and examined the data generated by the systems over a period of last few months. Among other things, the report states that in most countries with peoplemeter-based TV rating systems, there is only one system for the entire country.

Recommending a singular rating system for India, the report has said that at present channels are forced to subscribe to the two systems.

Also, that channels are not getting proper value for money they are paying for the ratings.

Another reason, the report points out, for a uniform rating system is that in the current systems the sample sizes are inadequate and the error levels too high. Also, the report states, the present systems are covering only a small percentage of the total urban TV viewers. ‘‘There is a very big gap in the coverage, particularly in the Hindi states and in Eastern India,’’ it says.

Making a case for the uniform ratings systems, the report says that often there are inconsistencies in the data about the performances of specific channels or individual programmes. Therefore, channels feel the need for a monitoring agency to oversee the data provided by these rating agencies.

Another concern of the committee is that in both the TAM and INTAM rating systems, raw data is processed by giving appropriate weight only to variables called weighting parameters such as age, sex, income level etc. The committee is of the opinion that there are certain non-weighting parameters such as TV type, number of TV sets owned, remote/non-remote etc, which are not updated in the same frequency as the weighting parameters.

To begin with, feels the committee, the single system of rating should increase the coverage to at least 75 per cent of the total urban TV households of the country. Significantly, the single system is expected to increase the sampling units in the six metros, thereby bringing down the error level by 50 per cent. As these six cities are considered very important for advertisers, a rating system with a much lower error level will be more than welcome.

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