Advertisers have finally started breaking their silence over the TAM – broadcaster imbroglio. Of-late, in a conference call among major advertisers in the television space, a consensus was reached that weekly objective data by the ratings measurement agency is a need that cannot be ignored. Apart from this, major advertisers also remarked that they would not be subscribing to any other alternate system of ratings if broadcasters withdraw from TAM.
Advertisers are vocal that they need TAM to judge and justify ad spends. TAM is largely funded by broadcasters and advertisers have framed a consensus that this fact should not command the ratings framework. They feel that TAM should be given a fair chance and not renounced at one go completely.
Mayank Shah, Group Product Manager, Parle Products said, “We agree with the broadcasters’ demand of reach over viewership figures. But as an objective, we need to have a weekly data. We are investing critical amount of money. For the campaign to be successful, the property/content needs to have at least 800 GRPs. Below this, spend on any property is futile. How would we judge such criteria if the ratings mechanism is absent or is monthly? It would be wise to have weekly data over monthly data.”
He further added, “TAM needs to upgrade its methodology which captures the approximate amount of reach of a TV property post digitisation. But you need to give a fair chance to TAM. Broadcasters have been relying on the TAM data till now. If it has not upgraded itself, does not mean that you renounce it. Only those broadcasters seem to be having a problem with TAM that are not at the top. Till they were at the top, there was no grudge at all.”
Arshad Nizam, Director, Alliance Advertising, who handles Kent-RO, said, “There has to be a currency in place. In this era of media inflation, I need to be sure where my money is being spent. Post October, following the 10+2 ad cap, channels would increase their ad rates. Then what would happen? Either the CPT or CPRP model, at least one rationale has to work for us. I share the concerns of broadcasters, but at the same time one cannot get away with the currency. The data has to be market -centric and there has to be clarity in the viewership.”
“TAM has failed to leverage a scientific way post digitisation to measure the viewership. It defies logic. A channel cannot be number one for a week and fall flat with zero viewership the next week. But renouncing is not an option. I believe in what is right rather than who is right,” added Nizam.
TAM cannot be discarded: Advertisers
Industry experts feel that the recent decisions taken by the major broadcasters have not gone down well with advertisers and they are concerned about RoI in the absence of a credible ratings mechanism. “This is like blackmail. You have to also think of the industry as a whole. Just because you are not satisfied with the ratings, you renounce your financial support and in a way compel the other stakeholders to do so. It is a known fact that broadcasters are the biggest fund providers for the TAM. They have deliberately pulled out at the same time. It is just a ploy to bring the current ratings provider down. Had there been many ratings provider, the step of renouncing could have been logical. But this is like paralysing the entire mechanism on which the industry works,” said a CMO of a major advertiser on TV, on condition of anonymity.
Advertisers are very firm on the fact that they would not be subscribing to any other ratings methodology if TAM is renounced by broadcasters. “I firmly believe that both the ratings methodology, TAM and BARC need to co-exist for a robust ratings mechanism,” said Nizam.
It also felt that the advertisers are deeply concerned of future parameters (like brand perception) to be used by broadcasters for making a sales pitch. “Which broadcaster would claim that its ratings are low? Nobody! Likewise, everybody would be number one,” said Shah of Parle.
Some advertisers, whom e4m spoke, mentioned that there is an indirect pressure from broadcasters to subscribe to the future ratings mechanism (BARC) and renounce TAM. But the spenders do not want to take such a step. “One needs to understand that the ratings have to be advertiser-driven and not broadcaster-driven. It makes all sense to not subscribe to any other rating mechanism if broadcasters keep pushing their agenda. It is my money. I need to be sure where it is put and what results are being driven. As of now, TAM needs to improve, but it cannot be discarded. It has to exist,” said a marketing director of one of the leading advertisers of IPL 6.