The Broadcasting industry has called for a single television rating system for the country. At present, AC Nielsen and ORG-MARG are the two agencies providing data on television ratings, popularly known as TAM and INTAM ratings, respectively.
Many in the broadcasting industry feel that neither of them give a holistic picture and most of the advertisers and broadcasters are forced to refer to both the studies to get a fair idea of ups and downs in the popularity chart.
Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has sought to enhance the coverage of more urban TV households, increase the sample size in the six metro cities, which attract most of the advertisers, and a regular update of the rating system.
IBF had earlier, this year, initiated a move to come out with a set of uniform technical standards for calculating viewership ratings. A committee was set up by the foundation reviewed the performance of both the systems in terms of costs, coverage, sampling and panel recruitment.
Viewership data are generally collected on three levels -– individual cities, specific markets like metro cities/specific states and the total reporting universe. The present systems are covering only a small percentage of the total urban TV viewers. There is big gap in the coverage particularly in Hindi speaking states and in Eastern India, the study says.
Broadcasters note that the reporting universe for the two systems are: All TV –TAM 104.3 million and INTAM 87.1 million, All cable & satellite–TAM 58 million and INTAM 43.5 million. However, as per the latest government estimates, the total number of TV viewers in the urban India is around 175 million and for Cable & Satellite the figure is pegged at around 102 million.
Broadcasters observe that there is no system, at present, to monitor the data provided by the two systems. Most of them feel the need for a monitoring agency to keep a tab on the system.
The study also felt that non-weighting variable such as TV type, number of TV sets owned, remote/non-remote, etc, should be updated more regularly. The IBF study recommends that the single system should increase the coverage to at least 75 per cent of the total urban TV households. It also sought bringing down of the error levels in the six major metro cities by around 50 per cent. IBF is in favour of a periodical update of the TV rating system.
Many in the industry feel that the advertising and broadcasting fraternity have to work hand-in-hand in moving towards the single rating system across the country.
Interestingly, the move may be already on its way. Dutch communications major VNU, currently holds around 75 percent stakes in ORG-MARG that comes out with INTAM ratings. VNU also has a majority stake in AC Nielsen that comes out with the TAM ratings.
According to the advertising industry sources business dynamics may force both the companies to merge their activities in course of the next one-year. Till that happens the advertising and broadcasting community may have make do with both the studies, feel most in the industry.