The Media Research User's Council (MRUC) has completed a decade in the industry and celebrating the occasion, by organising a forum 'Eye on Consumer, Eye on Media '05'. Apart from discussing issues concerning data from bodies like TAM, and other related factors, the council also instituted an annual award for effective data usage.
In the forum's opening speech, RK Swamy's Shekhar Swamy talked about the various works that MRUC has done in the past ten years. He said, "MRUC has on its own played the role as a facilitator in studying media in the consumer's context. The aim has been bettering the ways of using and recording data and inducing innovation for better usage of this data."
While Swamy gave an insight on MRUC's contribution to the industry, he impressed on the fact that the council has played a lead role in keeping up with the media development and assisting professionals in taking media decisions.
The institution of the awards is another initiative to encourage data usage. Lynn deSouza, Director, Lintas Media Services said, "MRUC has always worked on improvising and innovating in capturing data. It is very important to see that consumer end data is also utilised for the best results in media decisions. Most awards focus on outcome but the outcome is becoming something that we have little control on. What we have control on is the process and these awards are a recognition of 'process'."
She said that the first shortlist entries comprised of three publishers, one advertiser and 12 advertising agencies. A panel of three judges that included Rhoda Mehta, Divya Gupta and I Venkat brought this list further down to eight and those were invited for presentations. It included two publishers, one advertiser and five agencies. She then announced the winners, beginning with bronze. The two winners here included Coca-Cola Mumbai and R K Swamy. The Silver was awarded to Malayalam Manorama and the Gold award went to Mudra. Also four certificates of excellence were issued to Carat (Delhi), Dainik Bhaskar (Mumbai), Initiative (Delhi) and Starcom.
Apart from the awards, the celebration was marked with informative exchange from the industry leaders. One of the most interesting sessions was TAM Media Research's L V Krishnan describing what the agency has in store for the industry. The session, which was moderated by Rhoda Mehta, also had Aaj Tak's G Krishnan voicing concerns related to this data.
Krishnan began with explanation of the various factors to which ideal measurement responds. The points he enumerated here were environmental changes, power cuts, programming or content changes, reality on ground, which includes factors like distribution platform and lastly Marketing efforts.
He added, "We are prepared also to measure addressibility platforms like DTH/Broadband and we are also coming up with representation of Elite and Rural segments. We indeed have a long way to go"
G Krishnan said, "The points I am bringing forth have nothing to do with any one single body but the availability of data on the whole." Identifying the problem zone, he enlisted various factors, "Is the sample size of 5000 households enough for gauging the Indian audience and basing decisions of Rs 5000 crore advertising industry? With factors like fast diminishing urban-rural divide, exponential increase in number of channels leading to fragmentation and increased media consumption is 'one size fits all' viable?"
He also pointed out, unavailability of data for 1 lakh towns, product linkages, real time data and multiple TV households as areas that need to be worked on to improve data provision. "In an ideal situation, we should be allowed to speak to the panel homes and gauge what the audience wants. How do we know that the panel homes don't have problems like availability of the channel and so on, which could again not allow us to access to accurate data."
The conclusion of the session came to the single fact that even though data availability, through mediums like TAM, has a long way to go. TAM Media Research continues to be the single currency, on which the industry bases decisions worth Rs 5000 crore. And despite the mentioned issues, broadcasters continue to utilise this data to stake a claim in this ad pie.