TAM plans to cover almost 100% of Class 1 India with a sample of 4555 households in the next couple of months. It would also provide strata reporting as States/Rest of States will be split for reporting purposes as 1 Mn.+ and 0.1 - 1 Mn.
First two new markets, for which TAM started providing data from last week, are Rest of Karnataka 0.1 - 1 Mn. with a sample of 115 households, and PHCHP (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh)1 Mn.+, for which the sample is 260hh. These replace the Rest of Karnataka and Ludhiana markets respectively.
Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan, Orissa, Bihar, Kerala are some of the other new markets to be soon in the offing. The process of recruiting the households in these markets is in various stages.
One of the most pertinent questions here is, if the inclusion of new markets would provide added value to the media planners, and will they be able to get better value for the clients' media budgets? Says Atul Phadnis, Director S Group, TAM India, "Media planners were not exposed to some of these markets at all. They did not know how media was consumed in those markets, and what are the complexities of those markets, and how media consumption habits in one market are different from the other. They struggled to understand a market on the basis of secondary data."
Dr Ravi Moorthy, Head - Research, Starcom, also believes that availability of data from all parts of Urban India would be a major benefit. Says he, ""Well, at least we are getting National coverage - and TAM is now representing urban India in totality. If there is difference in media consumption habits, it would be brought out and it would definitely help the media planners. For instance, they would find out if they require more localised channels to reach people living in a particular region."
Is the increase in sample size big enough to make a difference? Says Ashish Bhasin, Initiative Media President, Initiative Media, India, "Currently TAM covers only urban India, and only 30% of Indian population lives in cities. Out of that 30% also, only 30 towns are being measured. Deeper we go, better it would be for the media fraternity. The sample size is adequate. Only if the numbers of towns increases, there would be a need to increase the sample size. Till now media planners were looking at data from other cities and making projections. We won't have to do that now."
Though the sample size has increased, the density of samples remains the same. Does it mean that if there are significant differences in regions it would come up, but if there are differences in media consumption habits in a particular region, it might not be that noticeable? Says Ashish Bhasin, Initiative Media, "I think the sample size is adequate. There were discussions on it and technical committee has vetted that. It does not only depend on the sample size but also on the way sampling is done".
Adds Moorthy, "As a researcher, larger the sample size, the better. But one has to do a trade off in sample size and cost. Here the sample size has been spread as much as possible. There were two options, to increase density of samples in some regions or to spread it wider, so that it covers a much larger area. To understand the differences in regions and get diverse coverage, the latter option was chosen. If you want to understand how diverse one particular market is, for instance Mumbai, we would perhaps need to increase the sample size in a few important and diverse markets at a later date. However, it is pretty good beginning. And the sample size is not at all inadequate, at least as far as understanding diversity across markets is concerned."
Phadnis states that not only media planners but also the broadcasters will benefit from the addition of new markets, as they would be able to better assess the performance of their programmes, "Even the broadcasters will be able to assess how their programmes are being consumed. Though they earlier knew about channel penetration for these markets, now they would know whether their programmes are being liked or not. Hence all the three key parties, media planners, advertisers and broadcasters would benefit from inclusion of new markets."