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TAM – broadcaster spat reaches flash point as 2 major networks threaten pullout

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TAM – broadcaster spat reaches flash point as 2 major networks threaten pullout

In August last year, when Satyamev Jayate got over, in an interview with exchange4media, Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India had said, “I have a healthy disrespect for TAM data”. This wasn’t the first time that a broadcaster showcased dissatisfaction with the rating pattern of TAM data. However, Friday evening (June 7) brought in an unexpected turn of events.

As per sources, Multi Screen Media and Times Television Network have written to TAM that they are stopping their subscription of weekly TV rating service with effect from June 6, 2013.

At the time of filing the report, despite numerous attempts, IBF President Man Jit Singh and TAM CEO LV Krishnan did not comment on the matter.

As per sources close to the development, a mail has been sent to various broadcasters, asking to look at the ratings issue. The letter said (not accurate words) “We are not satisfied with the TAM ratings and all of you are requested to please look into the matter, you can continue with the AdEx but please take action after keeping the issues in mind and if it suits your perspective.”

exchange4media contacted various broadcasters in order to know their views on the two major players pulling out from TAM subscription. We also asked them if they plan to action similar steps.

An official from a major Hindi news broadcaster said, “Most probably all genres, including Hindi news, English news, all GECs will unsubscribe from June last week or July first week.”

He also said, “There was a conference call couple of days ago among broadcasters and all of them have decided to move against TAM.”

If sources are to be believed, AAAI is planning to meet broadcasters to handle this issue, he added.

Some broadcasters feel this move has been well thought through by MSM and TTN. They shared that they are not going to unsubscribe to TAM ratings. The reason being that it is evident that during the IPL MSM didn’t find any reason to unsubscribe, but as the viewership of last few games fell, they immediately became concerned over the ratings. Same goes for English news channels; the genre is shrinking. There is no doubt about that, was the opinion.

Broadcasters we spoke to further elaborated that players that have pulled out are among the top ranking positions and have no reason take such a step. Also, they have signed a contract with TAM and it is illegal to discontinue midway. However, there is an exit clause that will work in the broadcasters’ favour. 

Another leading broadcaster, on the condition of anonymity, shared that it is too early to decide on what they will do as only two channels have withdrawn so far. 

He further said that it is a wait and watch situation, and as digitisation pans out in the country, the viewership will be better.

To add to the broadcasters’ woes, there are many other challenges that are giving them sleepless nights. The ad cap date is coming near and net vs. gross issue is another ball game. Not to forget the increase in ad rates!

Broadcasters have to keep in mind that TAM will continue to monitor the channels, and agencies will judge ad rates on the TRP parameter. At the end of the day, everything is based on numbers, even though they are not accurate. It’s an imperfect currency but that’s the only one broadcast players have got.

Either all stakeholders – broadcasters, agencies and advertisers – opt out of TAM and work on quality and credibility basis or the industry puts an alternate currency in place (BARC still has a long way to go). These are the only two options...

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