A lot of has been said, written on the subject of NDTV vs. TAM in media lately and point of views have been getting aired as free as the monsoon shower. Some with vested interest want TAM to fold up, and some others sensed a business opportunity, political system, lobbying, research contract award being relooked at, etc. have been the news of prominence concerning this issue.
But I personally think that in this entire happening, one thing our industry is forgetting – A very humble and most sincere leader who runs the TAM operations in the country, LV Krishnan.
Having known LV for almost two decades, I do not believe that an organisation he runs could be without the values he personally possesses. He delivered innovation after innovation in the audience measurement area. The industry welcomed all that. He was personally at the forefront of these. We celebrated him by inviting him to speak at functions and share his knowledge. All those were happening, perhaps, when the going was good. Now there’s a crisis. So, are we taking our faith and belief in this gentleman away? Or are we saying he is corrupt? Or the corrupt practices (if it did) took place with his knowledge? It is sad if we really believe that.
NDTV which is leading this also cannot operate without audience measurement numbers. No parallel structure can come up overnight. Currently, there are only two possibilities here, from a business perspective. One, press the charges to the extreme extent and get TAM to fold up which will create huge uncertainty in the media buying space. Nobody will win here. Two, even if we presume that such an issue took place at some end without the involvement of the company CEO, can we re-affirm our faith in the leader and have a discussion with representatives from media agencies, clients, industry bodies and broadcasters to ensure a fool-proof system is created and reviewed?
Yes, sample size is an issue we have been discussing for a while. Errors are possible in small samples (perhaps removing the highest and lowest reading and looking at the averages based on other numbers could be a possibility?). Each people meter costs TAM money. It is a business they are running. I am for a minute not saying they are not profitable. But are we as an industry coming forward to commit to TAM that their additional investment will be shared or do we sit on the table every year to bring down the cost of research?
There’s an established system that’s working. There’s huge knowledge, expertise and sincerity their leader brings on board. If BARC or any other body has a sincere belief in ensuring that the industry gets a robust data, it has to understand and recognise both the above factors without any agendas.
Let’s all win together rather than going for each other’s throat!
The author is MD, Vizeum