We need to create a scientific, robust, transparent TV measurement system: Uday Shankar

Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company APAC & Chairman of Star and Disney India, spoke about Hotstar's consumption trends, growth of regional & more at the launch of India Watch Report 2019

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Dec 11, 2019 8:36 AM

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Uday Shankar Faye D'Souza

“Measurement system is one big limitation. The legacy TV measurement is not doing justice, unfortunately, to what is happening and how people are consuming content. In digital, with the help of technology, we can find out what kind of content was watched in which part of the country,” said Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company, APAC and Chairman of Star and Disney India, at the launch of Hotstar’s India Watch Report 2019.

Shankar expressed concerns about the legacy television measurement system during a fireside chat with Faye D’Souza.

He further said there was not enough data available and what was out there had “an issue of credibility”.

Shankar also mentioned that the current data was widely extrapolated, interpolated and mutilated. “We need to move on and create a currency that is scientific, robust, transparent and gives complete visibility to all the stakeholders.”

In digital it is possible to target the last slice of demographic, he said, adding that Hotstar was mindful of the legal requirements around privacy and within that all kinds of targeting was being done. All kinds of segmentation can be done with the help of technology, Shankar added.

When asked if this sort of transparency of receiver of advertisement or targeting of advertisers will eventually overtake TV, Shankar said: “I don’t think it will overtake television. It's a false binary that we have created between television and digital. As we go along it will come closer. Most of the advertisers buy both TV and digital. It's just that it's not available together and the organizations are not designed like that. Hence, they are going to two different people and teams.”

Shankar said he also believed that most Indians preferred the small screen. He further explained that there is no one standard size of the TV screen. There are 14 inch TV screens and 84 inches as well. “We don't make that distinction when we are making content for television all these decades. So why should we do this now? It's just that the screen sizes are becoming smaller and bigger, even on streaming connected TVs are bringing it back with a big screen, same traditional big screen. The screen size is totally irrelevant. It is about making sure that you will be available to the consumer with the best possible, most convenient hassle-free option whenever and wherever they want.”

Another important point he mentioned during the chat was about regional growth. More than 40 per cent of video consumption came from regional content with Tamil, Telugu and Bengali being the top regional languages, Shankar said. “In fact, Bigg Boss Tamil is the highest watched entertainment show having beaten all Hindi TV Shows.”
Shankar said he believes regional was not just one of the ways to go forward, instead it would be the driver in growth. The rate of growth in consumption is much higher in regional languages, he added.

Elaborating on the cricket broadcasting plans, Shankar said that cricket is the present and it will remain so in the future. “Cricket is an expensive business and we never shied away from taking expensive routes.”

Taking a dig at the competitor’s investment, Shankar said: “It's easy for people to come here and say that they plan to spend Rs 2,000-3,000 crore on content. Well, welcome to the party, we sign one check for one tournament every year, which is more than that.”

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