"No measurement is not an option and industry doesn't survive like that"

Even as marketers & media planners feel that measurement mechanism has become more of a battleground than a yardstick, they are firm that future of investments in print or broadcast without measurement is impossible

e4m by Abhinav Trivedi and Abid Hasan
Updated: Feb 13, 2014 8:59 AM
"No measurement is not an option and industry doesn't survive like that"

Marketers, advertisers and media planners have expressed their relief at Delhi High Court’s decision to give Kantar Media some more time to implement the TV ratings guidelines. However, the bigger question remains as to where is the advertising industry headed in terms of approach and budgets in traditional media (print and television)?

Marketers have consistently been vocal about the fact that measurement mechanisms have been very important benchmarks to measure the RoI on spends, but of late these benchmarks have become a bone of contention for everybody.

Arvind Sharma, Chairman, AAAI, said “We welcome the High Court decision as it has bought some respite. We are dealing with long term solutions here and, therefore, existence of at least one rating agency is important. Ratings or measurements (IRS or TAM) have a key role in determining value for an advertiser. However, today I think the measurement mechanism have become more of a battleground than a yardstick. I foresee that we will get back inclusively as an industry in changing this equation in times to come.”

Over the last one year in television and over the last few weeks in print, the measurement mechanisms have not only been ridiculed by the media fraternity but there have been also cases of withdrawing of subscriptions from the data. This is applicable to both the traditional formats. Observers say that with increased penetration of TV and increased Literacy both the mediums expect the viewership and readership to augment and not decrease. Therefore, measurement methodology in both print and broadcast has been under scanner.

However, people we spoke to have also indicated that not every newspaper, magazine or a channel will have numbers which they expect. “The problem comes in when players get affected on the negative side. That is when sentiment starts pouring in. This, however, is not the correct way to judge measurements which reflect reality,” said a senior publisher on condition of anonymity.

Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia noted, “I see increased demand for accountability now. After recent turbulences, advertisers will value RoI more than they used to earlier, be it in print or TV. Every measurement mechanism will have to, in that case, match that expectation. On a broad based sense I don’t think there will be large affect over TV as such owing to the mass reach it posses and it will continue being a preferred medium. However, there will be a robust pricing evaluation on the medium. Print medium, on the other hand, may get little affected. However, measurement is inevitable in both the mediums without fail.”

Observers and people related to the industry have expressed speculation regarding future. At the same time they are also affirmative about the fact the solution in both print and broadcast should be evolved within a stipulated time, else it could hamper prospects. Although TV is likely to be less affected as compared to print.

Sandeep Menon, Country Marketing Head, Google said, “As CMO of Google, I spend most my marketing dollar on digital as it is a measurable medium. However, other mediums are equally important and I hope there should be a solution soon.”

Sanjiv Kapur, CMO, Citibank said, “In my mind, it is a black box. They (traditional media) are making it difficult for themselves as compared to digital media. I am not saying that digital is reality, but it has supreme advantage of measurability and is tangible. It’s a boon and a curse. I would say that they have no choice but to create a measurement system which is acceptable. No measurement is not an option and industry doesn’t survive like that.”

Some marketers also believe that the absence of ratings or temporary fluctuations is just a phase that the industry is going through. They feel that the every emerging country is going through regulatory and operational makeover in media sector and issues over measurements are not uncommon.

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