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TAM Media Research casts a wider net in the New Year

05-January-2009
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TAM Media Research casts a wider net in the New Year

TAM Media Research has updated its universe and added more markets in 2009. This is in line with the changing television and media environment. The numbers of the new panel would be available from the first week of January 2009.

While TAM Media officials emphasise that it would still be the same ratings in an enhanced version, which is a result of the regular TAM update, 2009 would be a milestone in TAM Media Research’s history. Not only do the 2009 ratings see a universe update that includes an updated digital penetration, this is also the first year where the new TAM markets would include below Class 1 towns, which in a sense sets TAM’s foot in semi-urban India. For a beginner, the Maharashtra market has been added to the overall strata.

TAM Media Research has also decided to wind up the Elite Panel that was brought in place to study the SEC A+ audience. LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, explained that most of the homes in the Elite Panel were digital homes, and that it made sense to optimise these resources in enhancing the digital measurement rather than allowing any kind of “duplication in numbers”. TAM Media Research had begun reporting digital data separately from August 2008.

New Markets & Updated Universe

TAM has updated new markets at various levels. To begin with, there is further focus on local markets in the existing reporting markets. Pune and Ahmedabad have been added to the six metro markets. The reporting states, too, have been split further into finer reporting units. Consequently, Punjab and Chhattisgarh can now be measured individually. The changes would be effective from the first week of 2009. Krishnan informed that the choice of these markets was on basis of the feedback that TAM had been receiving from the industry.

The other change that would be seen beginning February 2009 is the addition of Bihar 1 million plus and Assam 0.5 million markets. Also, around the same time, TAM Media Research would be adding Maharashtra less than Class 1 markets to the existing strata. This is seen as the first step in covering the semi-urban markets. Krishnan said here that TAM would consider the industry feedback to these ratings of the below Class 1 towns of Maharashtra before taking further steps of adding more markets that would give it a better presence in smaller towns.

With this, the sample size would increase from the current 6,900 to 7,600 in January 2009 and eventually to 8,000 in the first quarter of 2009.

The last universe update was seen in 2007. Krishnan informed that this update was part of a regular exercise, given the assumption that the number of television homes, cable homes and digital homes changed constantly. He said, “To reflect the correct picture, we have to make these changes.”

Update impact: Greater significance of the 1 TRP, better localisation gauge

When the TAM universe was updated in 2007, the ratings percentage was lower than that seen in the previous years. However, the conversion of 1 TRP into an absolute number of eyeballs had increased, and this implied a larger significance of the numbers.

Krishnan explained, “The reality of market changes. Ratings, after all, are a percentage of the overall universe. In the present state, you cannot compare the two universes directly. The 2009 ratings would not be comparable to the 2008 ratings directly. The shares, however, which are a percentage of the universe, can be compared.”

He was also quick to add that the changes in the 2009 numbers would not be as drastic as the ones seen in the 2007 update. He pointed out, “The scenario in 2007 was different. We were then moving from the 2002 to 2006 base. In 2002, we were still using the 1991 Census that was the only available numbers at the time. In 2006, we had moved from 73 towns to 145 towns in 2007, which was nearly double. The difference in 2009 is not that much. We would be moving from 145 to 160 towns that include all the new markets, including the less than Class 1 markets of Maharashtra.”

The overall route emerging from the updated TAM markets is a better opportunity to track local markets. Krishnan observed, “We are seeing the emergence of local channels and local content. From a national focus that many broadcasters had, it is now about becoming more regional. For instance, there is a dramatic increase in the number of Marathi channels. Given the advent of digital households and platforms like DTH, the road from here, even though a long one at present, is towards a targeted community focus.”

The numbers of the new panel would be available from the first week of January 2009.

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