The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) new guidelines regarding television ratings in India has sent the broadcast industry into a tizzy, with the industry staring at a situation of possible ratings blackout in just under a month’s time.
Kantar Media, a co-partner in TAM Media, is one of the affected parties of the MIB’s clause of limiting cross holding ownership to 10 per cent. Kantar has issued a press statement highlighting how this clause could impact the television ratings measurement system in India.
Talking to exchange4media about the ratings guidelines, Thomas Puliyel, President, IMRB International said, “However well-intentioned it may be, the guidelines appear to have many infirmities. For example, it suggests that over the next three years, the number of meters needs to expand to 50,000 – adding 10,000 meters every year. It is hard to understand whether there was any basis for this recommendation and whether it takes into account industry requirement.”
As is known, IMRB, a member of the Kantar Group, represents Kantar’s interest in TAM.
When asked about the next step, Puliyel said that Kantar is raising this in every forum possible – in discussions with the industry and stakeholders as well as with the Government. “Many in the industry are very supportive of our assertion that a ratings-dark period will only benefit vested interests,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kantar has affirmed that it has no intention of selling its stakes as the company has invested a lot. Kantar further said that the industry cannot seek investment in the measurement industry and at the same time place restrictions on ownership.
Puliyel further said, “There are also other stipulations that affect panel security and the identity of those participating in the panel. There is also the crossholding clause, which only serves to restrict competition and prohibits some of the experts in television measurement. It is inconceivable that TAM, which receives such strict industry oversight, would be able to influence ratings in favour of any stakeholder. Television ratings are best left to self-regulation and industry oversight rather than Government policy.”