Media planners demand uniformity as TAM data gets split between monthly & weekly

With b'casters at odds over ratings timeframe, media planners stress that the industry cannot work on divided dynamics. Weekly ratings is the way to go, they say

e4m by Abhinav Trivedi
Updated: Jul 18, 2013 8:54 AM  | 4 min read
Media planners demand uniformity as TAM data gets split between monthly & weekly

As the developments in the broadcast industry progress, media planners might have some tough decisions to make. At the time of filing this report, Discovery Channel had resorted back to weekly ratings, while Fox TV had maintained its stand on subscribing to monthly ratings. The news genre is already divided between such subscription disparities. While Zee News moves to monthly ratings, ABP News chooses weekly ratings.

If executed, will media planners be OK with this new dynamic of division of some broadcasters sticking to weekly, while some moving to monthly ratings?

A senior media planner, on condition of anonymity, stated, “It won’t be possible for us to evaluate the results. This dynamic would only create imbalance for us. All the channels will have to be on one platform only. If broadcasters choose different ratings timing, our campaign implementation would have to vary. How can I compute the rating of a campaign between 15th of a month to 15th of the next month? It is not a question of what is possible, but a question of what is acceptable. The ratings mechanism has to be equal for all. A non-uniform metrics is not how a system works. Different rating mechanism for different channels cannot work at all.”

Another industry expert said, “It is up to channels to decide what time frame they would want for ratings. But we would consider only those channels that have a weekly subscription and evaluation. We won’t consider monthly evaluated broadcasters. We are firm on this.”

Media planners feel that in an era where developed markets are going with daily ratings, monthly ratings are regressive and there is no possibility that any broadcaster can be evaluated with this mechanism.

A senior media planner from Delhi said, “There is no question of difference of opinion over ratings timeframe from broadcasters. We cannot work on monthly ratings for one and weekly ratings for another. It has to be uniform and weekly only. We also understand the reason and intention of broadcasters and we agree with them. But monthly subscription is not an option. On one hand they talk about switching to a global practice of CPT, and on the other, they go back to archaic time period of evaluation. One cannot have a double standard over this. We need to understand that the industry is going through major changes, and broadcasters need to be a little patient till things are resolved. I am positive that the issue would be resolved very soon and a solution is likely to arise, but this division of dynamic will not work at all. We need to be realistic. Viewership should actually increase. What broadcasters are doing is trying to show that the viewership has enhanced. Imagine if media planners also start resorting to such practice. This is not fair at the end.”

Major advertisers have already cancelled their existing ROs with channels that have asked for monthly ratings from TAM. Media planners are backing them, but broadcasters have a different take altogether. Although no broadcaster commented in this context, a Marketing Head of a major GEC, in an earlier interaction with exchange4media, had mentioned, “One needs to understand that when it comes to revenue structure, we are bleeding both, from our top line and bottom line. All we are demanding is a robust revenue model which would benefit all the stakeholders. As far as the robust ratings mechanism is concerned, I just have one point: We are in the business of viewership. The industry rarely understands the perspective of a broadcaster. We are not trying to push an agenda but trying to resolve the issue in a sophisticated and evolved fashion. The only difference is that this approach is considered by some stakeholders to be very aggressive and dominating, which is incorrect.”

With different broadcasters resorting to different timeframe of ratings, it is evident that there are strong differences of opinion, but this cannot go on for long. With pressure from all stakeholders, the industry has to come up with a solution that is win-win for all, and time is of essence here. 

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