Imagine TV surprised quite a few on February 17, 2011, when the channel issued a statement in context to its latest release – Shah Rukh Khan hosted ‘Zor Ka Jhatka’, questioning TAM Media Research data.
In the statement, Imagine TV said, “Week 2 numbers for ‘Zor ka Jhatka’ come as a complete surprise and appear out of sync with market and consumer feedback. There has been a sudden and sharp drop in certain markets, which were rating strongly and growing over four episodes in week one... These numbers seem completely counter intuitive to how people actually watch TV and GECs in particular. We have brought these discrepancies to TAM India’s notice and await their clarification and rectification.”
Market Wise Break-up
Explaining the numbers to exchange4media, Nikhil Madhok, Senior Director, Marketing and Communication, Imagine TV, pointed out, “The fluctuation in market-specific data is bizarre. For instance, in Madhya Pradesh, episodic ratings for ‘Zor Ka Jhatka’ show huge fluctuations. In MP 1-10 market, the show averages 2.9 in launch week and dips by 75 per cent in the first two episodes of the following week, only to surge by 400 per cent in the latter part of the week. The episode wise ratings of the week were 0.7, 0.7, 4.2 and 3.4.”
Madhok also gave similar examples of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mumbai.
In Uttar Pradesh, the UP 1-10 market has seen ‘Zor Ka Jhatka’ average at 3.4 TVR in its launch week. This was a strong ending to the week, and then it drops to weekly average of 1.7 TVR in the following week.
In Rajasthan, the Raj 10+ market averages 4.2 in launch week; the final episode of the week ratings was 4.6 TVR. However, the ratings collapse to 0.7 TVR in the first episode and then fluctuate for the rest of the week. The episode wise ratings are 0.7, 4.7, 4.1 and 1.9.
In Delhi, the show averages 4 TVR in launch week and drops to 2.3 TVR next week. On the other hand, in Mumbai, a market which showed weak opening ratings, shows a different trend and holds onto its ratings in week 2.
Imagine’s Pain Points
Madhok said, “These aspects of the data are a source of serious concern, as this is a big and important show for us. And these inconsistencies are bizarre. Our assessment is that there is some kind of issue with the data, at some level, and we are hoping TAM would revert to us with clarification.”
Why did Imagine however, choose to issue a media statement without waiting for TAM’s revert? Madhok replied, “We had raised this with TAM as soon as the data came out. A full day has passed and we have not heard from them – in the television business, a day is a long time. And it is important for us that our message – that there is something in this that needed to be clarified – goes out. Even if one had to refer to other independent data sources, the trends from TAM don’t fit in.”
The “independent sources” of data that Madhok refers to are Ormax and aMap. He explained, “Ormax has a panel where they survey viewers every week on ‘top of mind’ recall amongst viewers. In the launch week, we were 30 per cent on unaided awareness. That was the highest show in the list that week and much higher than anything we had done in the past. In the second week, where typically the awareness begins to drop, the average awareness level went up to 36 per cent.”
He said that even on aMap data, where in the first week the channel averaged 2 plus TVR, in the second week, it dropped by 5 per cent. Madhok added, “One can understand even a 15-20 per cent drop, but for data to fluctuate at market level by 400 per cent is not comprehensible. When TAM data came in, we were surprised that the numbers had fallen from weekly average rating of 2.6 TVR to 1.7 TVR.”
Madhok admitted that there were no earlier instances of this nature. He said, “For all shows prior to this, if a show dropped, you could see the pattern in the first week itself. By Friday, for a daily, you have a sense of where the show is settling. In this case, all of our four episodes in the first week had consistent rating and we grew on day three to the highest in fact. So, for the last episode of the week, people have come in big numbers and then it has suddenly settled at a lower base – that doesn’t add up. And then there are other independent analyses that contest this.”
Meanwhile, giving TAM’s point of view, a spokesperson explained: “The TVR or TRP performance of any TV channel programme depends on the number of audiences and the engagement time they spend with the content. Influencing this audience behaviour are a series of stimuli’s that range from factors such as right targeting of on-air and off-air promotions of the property, right appeal of the message in the promotions resulting in effective audience conversion, right scheduling of the programme against competitive content, right strategy for repeats to effectively push audiences to primetime, availability of the channel on key distribution platforms across markets and in key viewable bands and, very importantly, the story/ quality of the content in sustaining audiences loyal to the program episode after episode.”
The spokesperson further said, “The width and the depth of data in TAM allows broadcast research teams to delve deep into data to understand uniqueness of the audiences and their behaviour patterns across markets very well. TAM has always believed that the best approach to address concerns related to the influence of series of factors (listed above) affecting program ratings is via dissecting the data deeper and discussing the insights on a one-on-one basis with the concerned teams. TAM will continue to follow the same approach in this case too as only the richness of audience behaviour insights will lead to newer imaginative solutions in broadcast business.”