The recommendations submitted by the TRP Committee set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) on January 10, 2011, has directly impacted the two private agencies that currently undertake the monumental task of gathering viewership data on the television industry – TAM Media Research and Audience Measurement and Analytics, also known as aMap.
aMap’s USP lies in it being an overnight audience ratings service provider, as opposed to TAM Media Research, which releases data on a weekly basis. One of the recommendations listed in the Committee’s report state that “TRP announcements at very short intervals may lead to distortion in broadcasting behaviour and, therefore, TRP generation and announcement by the rating agencies, particularly for the news channels, should be done once a week with the possibility to increase the periodicity to a fortnight.”
Responding to the Committee’s recommendation, aMap stated that “less frequent information can make the market inefficient and make media buying more error-prone”. In an official statement to exchange4media, Raviratan Arora, Managing Director, Audience Measurement and Analytics, said, “If the news channels believe that distortions in their broadcasting behaviour are caused by the quicker availability of viewership data (because they all get caught in prisoners’ dilemma situations) and the only available solution is less or ‘less frequent’ data, then there is some merit to this proposition. I am assuming for the moment that the advertisers who pay for all the advertising are okay with less efficient media buying in order to stop the degeneration of content, and that less frequent data will really make our idiot-box look less idiot.”
TAM Media Research has welcomed the report as being “very constructive” and has already started working towards achieving the Peoplemeter sample size proposed by the Committee.
We asked aMap if they planned to introduce changes in their offered service as stipulated by the Committee. Arora elaborated further, “Finally, the costs of market inefficiencies is borne by consumers. Here, we (the industry and the government) are now trying to find out what is best for the helpless consumer – degenerate content with lower prices or hopefully better content with higher prices. We will soon find out where all this leads. Anything that leads to better metrics and more accurate information will be in the industry’s and ultimately, the consumers’ interest. We need to ensure that we accomplish all that we have set out to achieve with a sense of urgency. We (aMap) are ready to respond to every situation.”
Another recommendation states that “there should not be any cross-holding between the rating agencies and the broadcasters, advertisers and the advertising agencies to avoid conflict of interest.” aMap’s current ownership is largely held by Monterosa, a Switzerland-based private equity company that holds a 77 per cent share, while Indian founders and other individuals hold the remaining 23 per cent stake, of which the majority of the Indian stake is held by Arora.