Every consumer product wants to be visible, be popular with the audience and sell. What is visible, sells, therefore, marketers who make their brands visible rake in the benefits. Thus, it is a game of “Jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai”, noted Sandeep Marwah, Chairman, Entertainment & Media Committee, PHD Chambers of Commerce (PHDCCI).
According to him, this has reached a stage where one is forced to have an interaction with people who are concerned with this topic.
Tracing the growth of media in the country, Marwah recalled how first there was print media, then came radio, cinema, hoardings, and bus ads – these were the only ways for advertisers to reach out to customers. Then came television in 1959, with Doordarshan I, and later, DD 2, but no ads were allowed on TV in those days. It was in 1962 that the first ad made its appearance on television – a black and white Cherry Blossom ad that featured Charlie Chaplin selling the shoe polish. “That became a big controversy in political circles and it was asked how Indian television could have shown this ad,” he said. But the matter was resolved soon and the government realised that this medium could be used for advertising products. In 1963, ad bookings started on Doordarshan and there was no competition.
Soon the first private channel entered the market, followed by many and today, “we have 600 channels in India. And some 50-60 applications are lying with the government for approval, which will happen in a few days”, he pointed out. TV channels became the best source of advertising and any advertiser who had a budget, a good product and wanted to reach out to the masses, started advertising on television. This gave rise to stiff competition as every channel started claiming that they are the best and every producer claimed that his programme is the best. It was difficult for ad agencies to decide on which channels to place their ads as there was no data on which channels provided the largest coverage. Thus arose the need for reliable measurement metrics and TAM Media was set up.
Today, with over Rs 12,500 crore riding on television ads, there’s a huge market there, said Marwah, adding, “No media can survive without ads, be it TV, newspapers, radio or any other media platform.”
He noted that today competition has come to a point where a channel that has not received a high rating as per TAM, calls the ratings biased. This leads to confusion amongst the audience, the ad agencies and the advertisers. One doesn’t know where to go, whom to look upon.
Sandeep Marwah was sharing his views during the Round Table Discussion on ‘Current scenario of Television audience measurement (TAM) in India’, organised by the Entertainment & Media Committee of the PHD Chambers of Commerce & Industry in Delhi on October 5, 2012.