TAM Media Research has much in store for the industry in 2006. With Pradeep Hejmadi settling in his role as the VP-TAM Media Research, the organisation is all geared to ensure that the industry has more data and is better equipped to interpret it. Not only are present verticals like television ratings seeing new products, but new initiatives like Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) are also on the anvil.
Hejmadi is clear that it is the growth in the industry itself that has led TAM to intensify its offerings. “Whether it is media or non-media sectors, there is consolidation everywhere and hence, there is more focus on the scientific usage of data,” he said, adding, “TAM constantly works towards identifying the directions where the industry is headed and bringing data that will be a need tomorrow. At the same time, we have to ensure that we maintain high standards in providing this data. Much of the action in 2006 is based on this premise.”
Talking about radio, Hejmadi explained that medium was all set to explode and even though data like Radio AdEx was available, the sector was bereft of measurement data and was more of a crystal ball medium.
“This will be a need tomorrow for data in the sector, but there are a multitude of factors that RAM depends on, and one of the key factor is the funding. Whether the industry can invest in data will be known only after the licensing phase is over. Otherwise, in terms of expertise and technical requisites like interface and methodology, we have everything in-house already,” he said.
On the television ratings front, quite a bit of action is in store with AdVantage being launched in January 2006. AdVantage is the evolved version of Media Xpress. “It really is cutting down the work of three to one,” asserted Hejmadi, adding, “You have the fixed point chart in one view, which is otherwise a three-way process and you can go beyond that. For instance, you can choose a programme and AdVantage colour codes the programmes in that domain rating wise, the highest rated being in red, going down to white. Then it gives you additional analysis like programme duplication and so on.”
The proposed Elite Panel will also see action in 2006. Hejmadi informed that the hard copy data from Elite will be available in February 2006 and the software by April 2006. Also, the first phase of the expansion in the national panel to 7,000 households will be completed by August 2006.
“The second phase will be an additional 3,000 households. However, before that, we will do our establishment survey and then go to the Joint Industry Body for suggestions of whether we should add more towns to the data or more depth to the present strata,” Hejmadi added.
He also pointed out that even as data and its availability was very important, there was a need to understand this data better. “Half knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge,” he said, adding, “The industry needs to know how to make the numbers speak to them and we have made this another focus area. There is much that TAM Media Research offers to the industry, but people are just scratching the surface even in the most widely used tool like Xpress. There is so much more and we want people to know about it, use it and pose more questions.”
Hejmadi speaks in the context of various other softwares that TAM presently offers. Some of them like AdVenture are seeing ‘settling in’ of their own. He divulged that even as the software was six months old, the web version was enabled two months back. With AdVenture, TAM’s intention is to address the prevalent problem in the industry where more co-ordination between media and advertising agencies is being actively discussed.
“AdVenture allows you to look at any commercial and its schedule as a new commercial airs. An advertiser can actually sit with his advertising and media agency and look at what the creative for any occasion last year was, what was the media plan – what it delivered and what can be done in a new campaign,” according to Hejmadi.
Amongst the other verticals that the organisation is ensuring more development are Rapid Monitoring System, ViewerGraphics, Eikona, etc. “Services like Eikona have attracted too much active industry attention. There are so many questions that we are working on these applications a lot more, in the process improvising it everyday,” he added.
In addition to these areas, another task high on the TAM agenda is the digitisation of operations, measurement and backend. Explaining the rationale, Hejmadi said, “We know the industry will go digital. It doesn’t matter if everyone goes digital, but we have to be future ready and hence we are digitising our business on several ends, on the peoplemeter end, we are bringing in the TVM-5, which are digital meters, designed to capture any digital device and on the backend in Baroda, we are digitising the system completely.”
He also informed that AGB had a proprietary system, which came into play here. “It electronically digitises all signals frame by frame and creates signatures. For instance, commercials – every frame and its audio becomes a digital signature and then it digitally archives all this,” he explained.
“The reason we are doing this is because today we are measuring over 130 channels and of this, 30 channels account for 85 per cent of the viewing. When digitisation happens, you will have a plethora of channels that will launch. We are speaking a minimum 200 channels and with our operations being digitised, we will be able to measure everything maintaining high accuracy levels. We are right now testing the system and we have got some phenomenal learnings from it,” Hejmadi added.
Essentially, industry expansion has meant TAM’s expansion and the organisation is in the process of instilling a structure, where the growing needs of clients in addition to the improvising of TAM offerings can be dealt with. Watch this space for more development on this front.