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Media agencies rally behind television ratings system

10-June-2013
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Media agencies rally behind television ratings system

The latest turn of events, involving leading broadcasters discontinuing their subscriptions of TAM Media, has led to speculative buzz in the industry.

Will this step lead to a cascading of all leading broadcasters discontinuing the usage of TAM data? What will then serve as a common currency and a tool of measurement?

It is extremely important to have ratings in television domain, shared Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World.

“Without ratings in television, the spends on TV in the country will come down. Advertisers follow the diktat ‘It aint no good if it can’t be measured’. If you observe a media such as OOH...it does not have a robust measurement tool and hence, has not grown as much as the others,” observed Balsara.

His sentiments are echoed by CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia. “For us, ratings are absolutely crucial for media planning, buying and pricing. We support the current rating system TAM and will continue to use TAM as before. A rating system benefits the industry as a whole as without measurement, we are all shooting in the dark. If concerns exist in some quarters, they must be discussed with all stakeholders.”

Whilst the battle between TAM and broadcasters has been an on-going event, the industry bereft of a measuring tool is hard to imagine. Moreover, from an advertiser’s perspective, what is the currency they will then use before making large investments?

Television remains one of the highest media of investment among advertisers, who have been using ratings as a tool to ratify their investments.

The other alternate currency, which is currently work in progress, is being developed by BARC, i.e. The Broadcast Audience Research Council. The initial steps towards this were taken earlier this year by BARC.

BARC had issued a global Request for Information (RFI) to have an understanding of the state-of-the art in the area of television audience measurement research in particular and audience measurement research in more general terms. However, this system is said will be ready by March next year.

“There needs to be one common currency. With BARC coming out with a new ratings system, there should be an alternate currency but right now TAM is the only option. Channels do have grouses with TAM; this is an on-going process. A few players opting out will not make a difference, if all the other players continue to use the ratings. It is very important to have a common acceptability among all players, and TAM needs to address the issues raised.  On a larger front, BARC needs to move fast to put the new ratings system in place,” opined Ashish Bhasin, Chairman India and CEO South East Asia, Aegis Group.

While the new ratings system to be introduced by BARC is much awaited, the fact remains that till March 2014 – the expected date for the new system – the television industry has to work with TAM.

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