The audience research cell of Prasar Bharati has developed a system for evaluating the viewership pattern of Doordarshan and also that of private channels in the non-TAM areas. While venturing into non-TAM areas, it will focus on the human element and try to stay cost-effective. TAM, which is the only recognised survey for television viewership in the country, covers only 23 cities.
The non-TAM regions which the Prasar Bharati research teams aim to cover include Jaipur, Bhopal, Jalandhar, Tiruvananthapuram, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Gorakhpur. As cost is uppermost on its mind, the audience research cell is planning to study only those regions where it has its own teams in place. It is a 16-centre network with a workforce of 260.
Cost is important otherwise too. For instance, Prasar Bharati audience research cell will not rely on expensive peoplemeter methodology, but adopt a people-based approach. The peoplemeters that TAM uses cost anything from Rs 15,000 onwards. If more features are included in the peoplemeter, the cost goes up accordingly. So, to keep the costs low, the audience research division has devised models, which are not technology-dependent. The focus will be more on qualitative analysis and not so much on quantity. And instead of peoplemeter, diary method and research questionnaires will be used. Through these methods, information will be collected on audience preference of programmes, both on DD and competition.
The new methodology will be put into practice once the test run is successful. Interestingly, the sample size will be much smaller than that used by TAM. The exact sample size hasn’t been decided yet.
Elaborating on the method devised by the audience research division, the sources said it would be a mixture of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It would be termed as triangulation methodology. Also, it would take into account prime-time viewing and not all of 24 hours. The channels under watch would be DD National, Metro and regional channels, along with select private channels.