With major broadcasters pulling out, an obvious question emerging is how TAM will sustain itself.
A large chunk of the funding to TAM Media Research is provided by broadcasters (almost 75 per cent).
Experts feel that TAM would not only exist but thrive even if broadcasters exit subscriptions. Perception in the industry is that in the absence of any other credible currency provider, the demand for TAM data would exist from agencies and advertisers. So the supply would completely depend upon robust demand, which is only going to increase with time.
A well placed industry source said, “TAM is more worried about its image rather than anything else. The recent fiasco of the major subscribers pulling out has hurt the organisation’s work ethic and dignity. Even when the lawsuit was filed by NDTV, the more intriguing factor was the brand perception of TAM. Situation is similar today as well.”
As far as financial viability of TAM is concerned, industry experts say that TAM is safer than anyone could imagine. “Don’t underestimate TAM,” said one of our anonymous sources from the broadcasting fraternity. TAM is backed by Kantar Media (a part of WPP Group) and Neilson Research. A perception which prevails is that the agency would source funds from its parent companies and might also increase the subscription fees from its subscribers.
“It is true that broadcasters pulling out of TAM has dented its image in a big way, but since there is no choice for the industry as of now, other set of subscribers would keep relying on the data. The viability of TAM would therefore not be questioned as there is no alternative. TAM would still be considered a feasible currency,” said a senior media planner on condition of anonymity.
Experts believe that BARC still has a long way to go and in such a scenario the industry does not have any other option. “After BARC comes into existence and with increase in the number of people-meters and introduction of more LC1 markets, it would become a competition game. When it comes to competition, any industry trusts credibility and work ethic. That is what TAM needs to work on. It is not a question of sustainability, but viability and long-term impact. TAM would face competition in the coming times, and there credibility matters,” said a Senior VP of a media agency in Delhi.
With one set of subscribers backing TAM, it is expected that a resolution might be reached soon between the broadcasters and the currency provider. Industry strongly feels that TAM would sustain, but it would depend upon the way it handles current crisis and how it comes out of it. If its image takes a huge blow and the industry starts distrusting TAM data, then no amount of funding would help it, as there will be no demand for such data.