The TV ratings data from the LC 1 markets, comprising areas with population of 1 lakh or less, has been an area of contention. In fact, Prasar Bharati has gone as far as filing a petition with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) citing monopolistic exercise and incorrect illustration of data on Doordarshan’s coverage in the ratings in the rural areas.
TAM expanded to LC 1 markets in order to stretch the footprint of their data and reportage from various small towns. Broadcasters also felt that LC 1 data will provide them more ratings, but things have not turned out as expected.
Talking to exchange4media, LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media said, “LC 1 markets have lower viewership than bigger markets, but the idea of expanding to those areas is to cover entire India. It was primarily to understand the behaviour of urban-rural viewers. It was to ensure understanding the viewership.” He also pointed out that the bulk of India’s population comes from small towns.
When asked what would TAM do if broadcasters requested stoppage of reportage from LC 1 towns, Krishnan replied, “If there is consensus in the advertising fraternity that TAM should not measure LC 1 markets, we will acknowledge that perspective and move to whatever is ideal.”
Meanwhile, talking to exchange4media, one of the leading broadcasters remarked, “The problem is that LC 1 markets are not providing accurate data and there are lots of fluctuations in the data that we are getting.”
The broadcaster explained there is no problem with TAM expanding to the LC 1 markets, but TAM has given a lot of weightage to the LC 1 markets, which is not good as per ratings. “If the total market is 100 per cent, then 25 per cent ratings are coming from the LC 1 markets, where population is less than 1 lakh,” the broadcaster added.
He further said, “The towns that come under LC 1 are very small and face a lot of problems. The major issue is lack of electricity, which leads to less television viewership. Besides, there are many towns without proper cable connection.” All these affect the ratings, he maintained.
When asked whether the broadcasters had not foreseen such problems before the data started coming in from these areas, the broadcaster replied, “We came to know about the fluctuations after the data arrived. We think TAM should decrease the data to 5-6 per cent from 25 per cent for actual ratings.”