Issues like TRPs, audience research, who’s watching have always been of importance to the television industry. In order to address these issues and delve deeper into the present system of assessing viewer ship patterns, the Centre for Media Studies organised a meet in the Capital on March 7.
Present at the meet were chiefs of both TAM and aMap, LV Krishnan and Raviratan Arora, respectively, along with industry leaders, who were later joined by I&B Secretary, S K Arora.
While welcoming the entry of more rating agencies, the I&B Secretary said, “I strongly urge and recommend many more organisations to get into the ratings business. Competition is required. Availability of more services to the clients will be good for the industry.”
Arora also voiced his grievance on the fact that the electronic media as well as the Internet had become more business and commerce oriented. He said, “It is only in the field of print media that journalism continues to thrive. Business and commerce has taken over electronic media as well as the Internet.”
He also stressed on the need for highlighting the methodology of the rating system. Replying to a question on regulating the business, Arora said, “We don’t believe there is any need for the government to regulate this sector (the rating systems business).”
Sharing his perspective on the issue, N Bhaskara Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies (CMS), said, “We need to put serious efforts to have more deep research into television viewership patterns.” Without condemning the rating systems, he said, “Ratings optimise advertiser spend and they should be given all the credit for speeding up the growth of television in the country.”
Bhaskar Ghose, CEO, Lok Sabha TV, said, “Ratings do serve a useful purpose, but we need to look at them very carefully. It is not right to demonise the ratings. There is a need to urge the rating agencies to refine the methodolgies of using them.”
To the broadcasters, he said that it was important to improve the quality of the content but at the same time he added, “It is key to see that your content is not totally in the hands of those who study TRP ratings.”
B G Verghese of Centre for Policy Research was of the view that ratings should not be manipulated either by the government or by private channels.
Mahesh Prasad, President, Sahara TV, had certain observations to make. He felt that the current number of people meters (60 million cable homes have 7,000 people meters) were not adequate. He also agreed with Verghese when it came to having transparency in the rating system. “There should not be any manipulation,” he said.
He also lamented the fact that the tier II towns were not taken into consideration when it came to location of people meters.
The chiefs of both the rating agencies made their presentations, which was quite educative. TAM India CEO, L V Krishnan, while dwelling on the television market in India, also stressed on the need for broadcasters to understand their audiences in a better way. He said, “Understanding of their audiences and markets is far richer than their international counterparts given the complexities here.”