TAM Media’s ratings have been under intense scrutiny from time to time, with broadcasters raising questions on the accuracy of the ratings measurement. Now, the tables seem to have turned with broadcasters’ claims of supremacy based on selective use of data. Hence, there are instances when on days of special telecasts such as election results or the Union Budget almost every news channel claims to be No. 1.
Taking note of such claims, last week TAM Media Research released guidelines on standard usage of TAM data, wherein it stated, “TAM data fulfils the need to understand Indian television audience behaviour. Over the past decade, the data and its dimensions itself have vastly increased; more sample size, more geographies to analyse and the increase in data has also led to increased data analysis intensity. Unfortunately, there are cases – and increasing in frequency – of data being dredged to yield interpretations that are not meaningful, but merely force-fit into a pre-determined conclusion.”
TAM also highlights that while claiming the positioning, channels should clearly mention time, date and markets.
On the reasons for issuing such an advisory, LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research said, “We were in discussions with the transparency panel and it suggested issuing these guidelines since this practice is so rampant in India.”
At the same time, Krishnan clarified, “TAM is not a policing agent, our attempt as a media research body is to help the industry use the data in the correct way. It is up to the industry bodies to ensure that their members use it the data correctly.”
Vikram Chandra, Group CEO, NDTV said, “For long we’ve had issues with the rating system (which we think needs to be tightened considerably) and also with the way data has been depicted. That’s the reason why we have stopped talking about ratings. Improvement in the ratings system is long overdue.”
Talking to exchange4media, Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News commented, “TAM is right in issuing these guidelines. The communications by various channels claiming No. 1 position create more disrespect towards the data.”
He further said, “There needs to be market trend analysis rather than data for a particular time. Minute to minute reports or even weekly reports do not impact much, data should be for a minimum period of eight weeks.”
Pandey also suggested that TAM needs to enhance its measurement system and a lot needs to be done while filtering the data. “The data is indicative and not absolute,” he added.
RK Arora, CEO, ITV Network also supported the TAM guideline and said, “It’s true that every broadcaster uses data selectively that is favourable to them. TAM is correct about the false claims; in very rare cases people see on what parameters a channel is highlighting its position.”
He also suggested that TAM fix TG for every channel and added that there should be detailing of channels viewership that is between 8 weeks and 13 weeks.