The tribe of Bhasmasura and audience measurement?

Guest Column: Sanjeev Kotnala, Independent Brand and Marketing Advisor, Coach & Facilitator, discusses how a measurement system involving technology & human engineering is vulnerable to manipulation

e4m by Sanjeev Kotnala
Updated: Jan 12, 2021 2:20 PM
Sanjeev Kotnala

I learned early in my life, what is measured gets done. A measurement that impacts fortune will impact fortunes. And, there will be people willing to tweak the measurements if it can impact futures. The measurement can be misguided by willing stakeholders to redefine businesses. And I learned the hot currency of measurement is not the unit or the process but the trust and the confidence the measurement evokes. Once broken, it is tough to get it back. 

A measurement involving technology and human engineering comes loaded with the possibility of manipulation. I am surprised that the circus came to town so late.

The unique and standalone measurement leads to a monopolistic situation. The higher the dependence on it. More the dependence more the number of stakeholders to create trust. Higher the trust, the more valuable the measurement, and the more the need to protect it with systems and processes. The more systems and processes designed for protection, the more vulnerable the system becomes. The possibilities amplify with the number of stakeholders, protection protocols, and the criticality of measurement. Hence…

Technology is never a barrier to manipulation. If it helps create the system, it can always be re-engineered for backdoor entry to control the output. Or to make the system speak the language one wants. It is immaterial if the Nation wants to know what was happening till kaltak. But…

Humans, unlike technology, can be motivated to do anything. Shaam, Daam, Dand, and Bhed hold the key to emotional or monetary manipulation. Everything is a possibility. You only need the right lever to press. And then…

Humans are ambitious. Some more ambitious than others. Some work in the exponential loop of possibilities that the others can’t imagine. Some adventurous type thinks of themselves as the ninth Chiranjeevi. Nothing can touch them. They drive the whole process and continue to seek new milestones, success and legacy. Until…

Humans are greedy, they are never satisfied. Bhalla uski Kameeze mere kameeze se safaed kaise can turn to Bhala uski channel ki TRP mere se zyada kaise in no time. The people in the business of insight mining always know what to do. The people in the industry of leveraged TRP know what to do. Some do… 

People are living with an illusion of untouchability. They think it is possible to script a perfect scam and ride into the sunset with intact pride and respect. Unfortunately, just like in cricket, it takes one good delivery to get the most accomplished batsman out. In business, excessive greed and loud mouth are the first sign of possible wrongdoing. Then…

Life is nothing but a play between expectations and experiences. It is the management of the gap between the two. Hopefully, most learn to recalibrate expectations from past experiences. Or relatively manage the experience. Justified biases are created. And when the systems are manipulated to the degree that the differences are evident to a blind. When they cannot be defined and logically explained. The gap between expectation and experience becomes too much to ignore. The aggrieved party searches for ways to close the gap. To bridge the unknown links and find ways to unearth or suppress the truth. Sometimes, the plot purposefully is tweaked to make you wrongly guess the killer. Sometimes the moves are all faked. Sometimes, the story has a familiar start but a twisted end. Just like the famed demon king Bhasmasura. The story…

The demon king Bhasmasura had a boon of immortality. Nothing could kill him. No Man, animal, bird or fish, gods or demon, natural or man-made, born or dead, on paatal, dharti, hell or haven or on aakash could kill him. But, if he was to place his hand on someone head, the person would burn to instant death. So, the power went to his head. He even started to challenge gods and goddesses, the rishi and even the one who initially gave him the boon. The challenge was on… 

And then Devi the shakti enticed the demon, and they danced together. Dancing in a cosmic rhythm, mirroring each other. They were in a trance, knowing invincible. It was a period of mystic bliss. And finally, in one of the dance moves, Shakti placed her hand over her head, and the demon king mirrored the move, thus killing himself. The tale with a twist…

A cryptic dance is currently on in the world of audience measurement. The verdict is not out, but the glass of trust and confidence lay shattered. It casts doubt on other media measurement systems that need an overhauled and recast in design and intent. Every one of them… 

Some of the audience measurement has paid a nominal price in the past for things not being right. The industry paid a much larger price. The damage was done, and the system is yet to recover. The process of correction remained within the industry, and attempts were made to clean the system. Is it relevant what happened? Did it succeed? One wonders… 

Bhasmasuras are dancing the divine dance of bliss. Some are trying to understand the powers, responsibility and accountability of their potential. Some are watching sitting from the edge, watching them dance and trying to interpret the moves. But, every Bhasmasura is alive at the moment. They exist. In fact, many Bhasmasuras exist in the system. The problem is not that they exist. The problem is that many stakeholders are willingly feeding them.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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