Television ratings have come under the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) scanner with the CCI ordering TAM Media Research to submit an investigated report on TRP ratings. The order comes following Prasar Bharati filing a petition, citing monopolistic exercise and incorrect illustration of data on Doordarshan’s coverage in the ratings. The public broadcaster had filed the petition around September 2012. TAM Media has been given two months’ time to submit its report.
Talking exclusively to exchange4media about this decision, Uday Varma, Secretary, MIB said, “It’s a welcome decision. For a long while there have been complaints from Doordarshan that its viewing ratings are not been taken appropriately. So, once TAM submits its report and data to CCI, it will reveal the appropriate mechanism. This rating is associated to all the channels and is important for Doordarshan, especially the terrestrial feeds.”
Throwing light on the impact of this order, Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati said, “We have been able to establish that Doordarshan and rural India have been treated unfairly by the existing rating process. We hope that advertisers, who are forced to use this skewed rating as their ‘currency’, will now realise that Doordarshan’s reach to their target audience has been under-rated so far by glitzy urban-centric numbers and that it is in their better interest to utilise DD more effectively.”
The television measurement process of TAM Media has been questioned by various broadcasters on previous occasions as well. Currently, there is one more case running between TAM and NDTV Group. Broadcasters have called for more accuracy in the ratings process and say that while this is not the perfect currency, it is the only one in the industry right now.
Giving TAM Media’s point of view, the company’s CEO, LV Krishnan, said, “TAM will be happy to cooperate with the CCI to give them the entire picture. We would be happy to cover the rural market if the industry supports funding. We had given proposals to DD for rural, but they didn’t want to fund it.”
Krishnan further said, “TAM has never been a monopoly and studies like IRS cover rural markets as well. Besides that, if they want to go rural, there was another ratings system till 2011 and DD could have asked them to go rural.”
“TAM has never claimed it covers the entire 1.2 billion population of India. From TAM’s perspective, if the entire industry or DD supports funding for us going rural, we would be happy to do that,” he added.