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aMap goes pan India, but data users undecided on a dual currency scenario

aMap goes pan India, but data users undecided on a dual currency scenario

Author | Noor Fathima Warsia | Thursday, Nov 23,2006 9:00 AM

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aMap goes pan India, but data users undecided on a dual currency scenario

Television audience measurement system, aMap (Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd), has gone all India in its data coverage two years after its launch in India. The move involves hitherto new markets for television data. Announcing some of the changes in the system, Tapan Pal, CEO, aMap, said, “We would be covering all India now and with 6,000 metered homes across the country, we are the largest panel in India.”

Pal informed that aMap so far had 10 clients who were buying data. These include the likes of Zee TV and NDTV, as well as SaharaOne, Aaj Tak and CNBC TV 18, among others, as revealed by aMap officials.

Industry at large, however, is still not sure whether they are ready to buy aMap data yet. STAR Entertainment doesn’t buy the data at present and when asked whether the recent changes would play a role in the media major buying aMap data, a senior STAR official merely said that TAM was the currency and for anything else on the data front, it was still wait and watch.

Similarly, Sony Entertainment Television, too, is not buying the data at present. For SET’s Sales Head, Rohit Gupta, it was more of an industry body issue. “They have robust systems and some very strong arguments to make. No manual intervention and overnight data are interesting offering, but industry has to give it a go ahead,” he said.

He felt that a dual currency system might not be in the interest to the industry at large and that this really was an industry body decision. “We can’t buy it in isolation. When we can’t use the ratings, what is the point?” Gupta asked.

Agencies, too, aren’t buying aMap data yet. Giving Madison Media’s point of view, Karthik Sharma said, “For any agency it is difficult to support two systems from a cost point of view, and whichever system you use, you have to be very comprehensive and detailed in using it. Hence, a dual data system poses a problem. TAM has been here and we’ve been using it, whether we want aMap also, given the changes they have brought in, is really a call we still have to take.”

Initiative’s Senior VP, Premjeet Sodhi, brings another important point to the fore here. He said, “I don’t think aMap is ready for media planning as yet. Providing TV data is one thing and definitely not enough for planning. You need AdEx data with that, Optimisers, programme logs, advanced software, and aMap doesn’t have any of these yet.”

Sodhi added, “Also, you must realise that TV measurement is on a different league right now. A dual measurement system will create too much confusion. We have worked on and off with aMap and the results are very different from what TAM shows and that isn’t the most ideal situation to be in. I think this really is more of an industry issue.”

Pal, however, asserted that a dual currency system would not be as negative as what was perceived. He asked, “Print already has it, doesn’t it? So why can’t television? To give you an international comparison, Canada is an absolute gold standard and television measurement and they’ve had two currencies for a long time now.”

He added, “At least let us come to that gold standard point and then the industry can decide which one they should choose, but surely you can’t deny that competition doesn’t improve an offering. TV ratings in India have grown a lot faster in the last two years and all credit to competition.”

Pal was quick to add that aMap didn’t aim to be competition to TAM. He said, “The industry saw a case of TAM and In-TAM, wherein both data had same offering, but in terms of data dimension, aMap has a lot more to offer than anything else. We are looking for a paradigm shift in television measurement altogether.”

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