Among trends that NRS 2005 has thrown up, an interesting factor is the huge increase in the number of Cable & Satellite (C&S) homes which is now 61 million households against 40 million in 2002. Channels sure have reasons to be excited, given that the increase implies a marked rise in channel reach.
NRS 2005 indicates that in terms of reach, from the average 134 million individuals a week who watched TV in 2002, the number reached 190 million individuals per week by end 2004. In terms of households, television now reaches 108 million Indian homes, of which C&S is reaching more than half of all TV-owning homes, reflecting a 32 per cent growth.
C&S households have seen a 53 per cent jump, which is more than twice the growth in TV owning homes. C&S subscription itself has penetrated 56 per cent of all TV homes.
“This only ratifies what STAR India has been saying all this time. There is a steady growth in the number of Indian viewers and the fact that C&S households have seen such a jump is very encouraging for all broadcasters. It is evident that we are delivering a far larger number than is otherwise thought,” said Sameer Nair, COO, STAR India.
“Channels have always been throwing a larger number,” observed Pradeep Guha, CEO, Zee Network. “With the number of peoplemeters that TAM has, you can’t expect to get the complete picture. This increase only makes it better for the channels and other stakeholders like advertisers consequently.”
According to N P Singh, COO, Sony Entertainment Television, a channel’s reach is measured in percentage and going by that, “the number we are reaching today has definitely increased”. He added, “Also, with this, we should see more mass brands use C&S channels instead of DD now. The disadvantage of reach that we had with DD is minimised with this jump.”
The channels view this increase as a positive one for the industry. Said Nair, “This increase means that the broadcast industry as a whole is headed in the right direction and given the growth trend, advertiser money that goes into this medium is well justified.”
Colour TV penetration, according to NRS data, is another area that has seen remarkable growth. The number of homes with CTV has doubled leading to 70 per cent C&S homes owning colour sets today. AC Nielsen’s Partha Rakshit explained that C&S growth drove CTV growth in the country.
“This means that the viewing experience has enhanced,” said Shashi Sinha, President, Lodestar Media, “The content and communication messages are being accepted better by viewers.”
For Chintamani Rao, President, Universal McCann, the C&S increase is an expected one. “With the way the medium and the economy are growing, this increase was expected and this does benefit channels.”
Taking Nair’s point forward about advertiser money being justified in television, Sinha said, “This definitely means that channel reach has increased and they are delivering more than what was hitherto seen. The advertiser is definitely getting better value for money.”
The logic behind this is simple. Where a channel was once reaching 50 per cent share of the C&S base and delivering to 20 million households on a base of 40 million households, today the same percentage would mean over 30 million households.
“This is not a nominal or marginal increase,” said Rao. “This is a significant increase for the channels and a very positive development for advertisers – they are talking to a far larger number of people.”
At a time when fragmentation has posed problems for every advertiser, this increase is an encouraging trend.
Singh highlights another issue here. “This trend also means that cable operators are under-declaring connections in a big way and opens the door for another discussion.”
For Nair, this increase is exciting. “In comparison to 2000, when KBC was first aired, the number of landlines and mobile phones have all increased. Think of the viewer-base that has not seen KBC at all. We are definitely looking at some exciting times ahead.”
It should be noted however that as far as TAM Media Research is concerned, the increase isn’t obvious in the numbers that the data throws up. “I believe that TAM is looking at increasing the meters on the basis of this data,” informed Guha.
Since TAM uses NRS for its Establishment Study, TAM had submitted its study to the Joint Industry Body (JIB) soon after NRS 2005 was announced. The study highlights some of the possible changes that the existing TV measurement might undergo. This study was also circulated within the industry for feedback. The JIB is looking into the matter to see how TAM can factor in this increase in the ratings system.