PMAR 2021: Data blackout shifted focus from shouting to serious journalism: Avinash Pandey

Pointing out the flaws in the system, Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network, suggested that the industry should move to RPD data, at the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Report 2021

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 18, 2021 8:55 AM  | 4 min read
Avinash Pandey

The entire rating system in the country is designed to measure drama and not news, said Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network, and according to him, only a serious corporate governance reform within BARC can put things back in order.

At the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2021, Pandey pointed out how the absence of rating points has shifted the focus of news channels from sheer shouting to serious journalism.

“There are no fictions being written around deaths of the celebrities or common man. Created content has almost disappeared from news and channels are covering relevant issues like farmers’ rallies, PM speeches and discussing policy issues,” he said.

Bringing up a recent example of how channels covered the murder of an Indigo manager in Patna who was killed right outside his home, Pandey said ratings would have only convoluted the primary story bringing in various unnecessary angles of women, politics, and drama because that would bring in the much sought after ratings for the channels.

“The entire rating system is designed to measure drama and not news,” he said.

Questioning the practicality of the NCCS system, Pandey pointed out the futility of marketing a product to people living in Adarsh Nagar and also to those living in Greater Kailash. “This is a very outdated universe estimate."

Pandey says the changing government policies have not been considered while measuring BARC data. Both users and service providers have weathered policies like NTO and changes in billings and subsequent changes in viewership patterns have not been reflected in the data provided by BARC.

Pointing out flaws in the existing system, Pandey suggested that the industry must have strong RPD data. “We have 44,000 meter homes right now, but if you look at the existing currency of NCCS, which is so discriminatory; on top of that you have 1.5% boxes only measuring BARC data as per the forensic report of BARC itself for the news channels. So, how do you expect the diversity which is there in India watching different kinds of news channels from Tamil, Telugu to Kashmiri to Hindi to be represented in this system? Therefore, my recommendation is that we must move to the RPD data, the sample homes of the news shall not be less than five lakhs at least and we should actively use technology to reduce dependency on the manual selection of homes, which will solve a lot of problems that we are facing today,” he said.

Data should not be reported like the stock market, he suggested.

“When an anchor breaks the table, the ratings go up and all other channels imitate the pattern because all of us are under pressure to perform. So, this kind of algorithm that is used to measure news is actually designed to report television serials where a particular actor dies and the rating goes up. Excessive emotions boost ratings. But people watch news for intellectual satisfaction and for information and if that is not happening, then BARC is not serving the right purpose. Therefore, my suggestion is that we should move away from these kinds of algorithms of reporting,” Pandey said.

Pandey suggested the industry move to once-in-a-month reporting and move to the total reach and eyeballs in a month rather than minute by minute, segment by segment, and anchor by anchor reporting.

Pandey also points out the problems with the structure of BARC. According to him, BARC investors do not have an arm’s length distance from the functioning of the body.

“BARC’s functioning should be left to the professional marketers and data scientists and for that, we need a serious corporate governance reform within BARC. BARC is in no way responsible for serving its consumer, which are people like us because they know that whatever revenue that particular network does, a certain percentage of that would come to them. If BARC has to sell the same data, are they confident enough to sell the data at that price? That’s the question we need to ask and as founders of the body, we have a responsibility to make it happen. It will not happen unless we give Sunil have a freeway for some time. The BARC board and the IBF board stay out and support him in bringing forth the reforms that are needed.

According to Pandey, the reforms will help TV news’ transition into a platform where a news module can clock the same viewership as that of entertainment channels without becoming entertainment providers themselves. This way according to him, TV news owners will slowly be able to move towards a pay model rather than working solely on an advertising support model. 

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Zee Media’s Daiba Pradeep Roy joins Mitwa TV as National Sales Head

Roy has more than 21 years of experience in media sales.

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 27, 2023 12:00 PM   |   1 min read

Daiba Pradeep Roy

Daiba Pradeep Roy who was the National Sales Accounts Head with Zee Media Corporation has joined Mitwa TV as National Sales Head.

Mitwa TV is a new age subscription free premium OTT platform for 45+ Crore audiences spread across Hindi Heartland. Roy will lead the sales team nationally and be responsible for revenue generation at MitwaTV.

A veteran media professional, Daiba has more than 21 years of experience in media sales. Prior to his tenure in ZMCL, Pradeep was heading the Business Team, at ETV a Subsidiary of Network 18 Media, where he was designated as Business Head.

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‘GEC genre ad volume went up in 2022’

According to a TAM AdEx report, 2022 saw GEC claiming the highest share, 28.5%, in overall TV ad volumes since 2018

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 27, 2023 8:50 AM   |   2 min read


The general entertainment channel (GEC) genre witnessed a 2% increase in ad volume in 2022 compared to 2021. According to TAM AdEx - Rewinding 2022 for GEC Channel Genre on TV report, 2022 had the highest ad volumes since 2018, with a 29% increase in 2022 compared to 2018.

As per the report, the third and fourth quarters of the year 2022 saw more ad volumes than the first and second. The report also stated that 2022 saw the highest GEC share i.e 28.5% of overall TV ad volumes since 2018.  

During both 2022 and 2021, Hindi GEC topped with more than 20% share of the GEC channel genre’s ad volumes. The top five subgenres accounted for around 69% share of ad volumes during 2022. 

Meanwhile, the count of categories and advertisers on the GEC genre dropped in Q3-Q4 '22 over Q2’22, whereas the count of brands peaked in Q3 '22. As per the report, Food & Beverages sector topped with 28% share of the GEC genre’s ad volumes, followed by Personal Care/Personal Hygiene with 20% share. Additionally, Biscuits and Aerated Soft Drinks were the new entrants among the top 10 categories. 

HUL, Reckitt Benckiser and Brooke Bond Lipton India retained their top three positions as advertisers during both 2021-22. Coca-Cola India and Procter & Gamble Home Products were the new entrants among the top 10 advertisers in 2022. Also, over 2800 advertisers were present on GEC on 2022. 

Meanwhile, over 800 exclusive advertisers were present on GEC with  Ullu Digital leading the list in GEC genre followed by Mangalam

Over 5600 brands advertised on GEC in 2022 with Dettol Antiseptic Liquid leading the top brand list followed by Harpic Power Plus 10x Max Clean. Also the top four brands were from Reckitt Benckiser (India).


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‘IPL on TV provides scale and impact for brands across categories’

At e4m TV First conference, a diverse panel of brand leaders touched upon how associating with IPL on television brings instant reach at scale and unlocks newer audiences for their brands

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:20 PM   |   4 min read

tv first panel

IPL on television has been an advertiser’s delight across categories. The sheer scale of the platform and its ability to drive instant results for brands makes it a preferred medium for impact.  At the e4m TV First conference held in Mumbai on Tuesday, a panel discussion was held on the topic, ‘Television - The chosen destination for IPL viewing.’ The panel was chaired by Vanita Keswani, CEO, Madison Media Sigma - Madison World and consisted of Anjali Krishnan, Head of Media, Mondelez India, Ajay Dang, President, Head - Marketing, Ultratech - Aditya Birla Group, Lalitha Nayak, In Charge - Marketing, NPCI, Nilesh Malani, CMO, Polycab and Girish Hingorani, Head - Marketing & Ecommerce, Cooling & Purification Appliances Group, Blue Star Limited.

Ajay Dang started the discussion with his thoughts on television advertising on IPL, which according to him, is distinct for brands in terms of viewer receptiveness and engagement. “IPL on television is a brilliant platform in terms of the number of eyeballs and effective storytelling of brand messaging. I think as marketers, there are a few shining examples like Mondelez, which have leveraged the platform fabulously well. It is a fabulous platform to engage with viewers.”

Nilesh Malani then spoke about how Polycab built their brand at the back of IPL associations on television since 2018. “At Polycab, the brand building exercise started maybe a decade ago. The philosophy was let's reach out to the heartland of the country from a distribution point of view and supply chain point of view. That's where we started going to consumers and we wanted to reach out in the most effective and faster way. IPL on TV gave us the best reach in the shortest period of time. So that's the reason we chose IPL. Then in 2019, we went public. And again, we wanted to reach out to consumers with a larger portfolio of products. That's where we decided to continue our journey on IPL.”

Anjali Krishnan gave some valuable insights in terms of how brands can best creatively leverage IPL on television. “We have launched all our new campaigns on our proposition of ‘acknowledging the unacknowledged’ through IPL on TV. We’ve observed over the past few years of partnering with Star Sports for IPL that the effectiveness of our campaigns was twice as they were compared to any other inventory we bought. IPL on TV is the ideal platform to launch new brand communications. It gives you a great reach in a very short period. New users that brands want to reach out to are present on IPL on TV. IPL on TV has played a pivotal role in brand building for Cadbury Dairy Milk.”

Girish Hingorani, who has been a strong believer in IPL on TV as a media property since its inception, spoke about how the platform has been a key factor in the success of Bluestar over the years. “We’ve been advertising on IPL on TV since 2008 and have leveraged the platform every year since. IPL on TV brings the country together and associating with a platform like this brings a lot of gravitas to a brand. We have focused on consistently creating good content and IPL on television has provided the largest platform for us to launch new communication every summer.”

Lalitha Nayak went on to talk about how the demographic profiling for Rupay matched with IPL TV audiences and how the association helped the brand launch new products successfully. “We launched our ‘Rupay - On The Go’ proposition last summer through IPL on television. Demographic compatibility is a key factor for us when we look at platforms to advertise on and IPL on television was a match for us. We advertised on IPL on digital as well, but saw a high recall for the brand after we begun the TV association. IPL on TV is a clutter breaking phenomenon if you can create good content that blends in.”


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‘TV is by far the most powerful and effective in building equity and awareness’

At e4m TV First conference, industry experts discusse how TV is still a strong medium over digital media to reach a wider audience in India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:10 PM   |   5 min read

Tv first

Due to the pandemic, digital media has become an easy as well as affordable medium for brands to reach out consumers without much hassle. However, TV still has a strong presence in Indian households. Advertisers across genres prefer TV over any other medium in order to increase their credibility amongst consumers.

At the recently held e4m TV First conference, industry leaders discussed why TV is still a preferred medium and how advertisers are making the most out of it. The panel discussion was moderated by Dheeraj Sinha, CEO & The Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett; Chairman, BBH India. The panel consisted of Sambit Dash, Partner - RPSG Capital Ventures, Girish Hingorani, Head - Marketing & Ecommerce, Cooling & Purification Appliances Group, Blue Star Limited, Gaurav Dhawan, Chief Revenue Officer, Times Network, Rajan Amba, VP-Sales, Marketing & Customer Service - Tata Motors Ltd- Passenger Vehicles. 

Speaking on why TV is still is the popular medium, Dash of  RPSG, said, “ I think television is still the key medium for a brand to gain  the trust of consumers and create an impact. What I mean by trust is that it's just human conditioning; when you see an ad for a brand on TV, you think this brand has enough money and so must be having enough consumers and so it's big enough for me to trust. That's where the trust comes from and impact is all about reaching a large audience at the same time.”

While Amba of Tata Motors said, “I think one of the things, that we often forget is that, families take decisions, it's all not always individual. For brands like us, which are high-value purchase brands and where the decision to buy is taken by the family and not individual, TV makes a lot of sense. It's got the most widespread of a penetration in that sense and I think that it allows us to tell stories, the larger screen allows us to tell stories in a family setting in a much more inclusive way than digital does and that certainly help brands like us.” 

Hingorani of Bluestar said, “TV is by far perhaps the most powerful and effective in building equity and awareness. A brand like Bluestar has been built on television over the last two decades or so. We still kept investing on TV because as brand equity cannot be built in private and one has to be reaching out to as many consumers as you can, even if you're a B2B brand. The audio-visual experience that TV gives you, without you having that option of skipping the ads, there's nothing to beat television.”

Dhawan of Times Network said, “What TV does is, it very beautifully helps you address key behavior points so if you want to impact the behavior of any particular market, you will see that TV actually works beautifully. TV has a far bigger impact, you trust the TV word very easily, there's a lot of credibility that come with it. TV even today is the highest reached medium in India as 70% of India is connected through television in one way or the other.”

The discussion then shifted to IPL.

Speaking on the impact of IPL, Amba said, “We've been investing in IPL since 2018 as partners and not just as advertisers. We've seen some tremendous boost arising out of that. But having said that I think that every brand needs to think very carefully about that kind of investment. It is a massive investment and it's a one-time huge investment which can blow you out of the water. If you're a brand looking to make a big impact and you've got something new to offer and you can afford it, it certainly makes sense because you will get that mileage.”

Similarly Hingorani, said, “Bluestar has been on IPL ever since the first season, I've been on every season of IPL. We've been there, we're not a big brand in terms of deep pockets, we have very limited money available but we choose to use it wisely. Of course IPL has a great timing advantage for us because it's the start of the summer season, most of our campaigns are launched on IPL but what we've learned is that IPL is very different from other television advertising. One thing for IPL is that you have to acknowledge the fact that your break hours will be the lowest, which means people would want to obviously wait for the next over so they are not really going anywhere. So that advantage of engagement is there with IPL.”

The panel also discussed about Connected TV and how it is emerging in India but will take time for the masses to follow as people are becoming more accessible to broadband connections. Dhawan said, “It looks very small as we speak because not too many people into it but with the passage of time and improved data speeds, it will catch up. Right now it looks like it is in the sushi category you know good to have it sometimes but can't have it as a daily meal, someday it will become part of your daily meal.”


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Sesame Street co-creator Lloyd Morrisett is no more

Morrisett was known as an experimental educator for using TV as a medium of education

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 11:15 AM   |   1 min read


Sesame Street's co-creator Lloyd Morrisett has passed away. He was 93.

Known as the experimental educator, Morrisett collaborated with TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney to create Sesame Street upon seeing his daughter interact with the television.

TV show Sesame Street was a big hit among children around the world.

According to Cooney, his co-founder and close friend, “Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street. It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach pre-schoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers."

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GroupM’s Motion Content Group to launch new show featuring India’s influential leaders

‘Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra’ is being launched in association with Google and Meta

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 10:09 AM   |   2 min read


GroupM's Motion Content Group, in partnership with Google and Meta, is launching a new show, "Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra," in collaboration with Optimum Television.

The show, a tribute to the contribution that the Indian civilization has made to the world, takes viewers on a journey through India's past, present, and future.

"Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra" will feature some of the most influential and accomplished leaders from various fields in India, who are the baton holders of the country's culture and heritage.

The show will comprise 3 episodes for a duration of 1 hour each. It will be aired on Zee TV SD, Zee TV HD, Zee Cinema HD, & TV, Zee news, Hindustan.

The series will feature subject matter experts, historians, academicians, scientists as well as titans of Indian Industry such as Professor Yashwant Gupta, Centre for Radio Astrophysics; Dr Pratap C Reddy, Apollo Hospitals; Baba Ramdev, Yog Guru; Acharya Balkrishna, Patanjali; Professor Sunaina Singh, Nalanda University; Anil Shastri, Senior Leader of Indian National Congress; RS Sodhi, Former Managing Director, Amul; Prof V Ramgopal Rao, IIT Delhi; Professor Aral D Souza, IIM – Ahmedabad ; Dr Anil Bharadwaj, ISRO; Dr Subhash Chandra – Zee; Edward Luke-Financial Times; Sangeeta Gupta-Nasscom; Dileep Sanghvi-Sun Pharma ; G Ashok Kumar-National Water Mission on Stepwells; Salvador Lyngdohscientist on living root bridges; Deepinder Goyal- Zomato; Ruma Devi-rural entrepreneur; Motilal Oswal – Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Abhishek Singh, CEO, Digital India; Vikram Singh Bedi – MD Google cloud India.

The show is narrated by Sharad Kelkar and scripted by Prasoon Joshi. "Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra" will be available on Zee Network and can also be streamed on Google and Meta's platforms.

Ashwin Padmanabhan, President - Investments, Trading, and Partnerships, GroupM – India, said, “We are thrilled to announce the launch of Jai Ho! Bharat Ki Anant Yatra. This show is a celebration of the stupendous journey of Indian Civilization and its contribution to the world. The show also looks into what the future holds for India as an economic and cultural world leader. We are proud to collaborate with Google Cloud and Meta to tell this inspiring story of India." 

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Common equivalent metrics needed to compare efficiencies of TV & digital: Sam Balsara

Balsara, Chairman of Madison World, delivered a keynote address at e4m TV First conference

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 8:53 AM   |   7 min read

sam balsara

TV measurement is far more robust and methodological compared to digital platforms and unless industry has a common equivalent metrics, we can’t compare efficiencies of both the media, says Sam Balsara while speaking at the e4m TV first conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. 

Delivering a keynote session on the theme of the conference, ‘The power of Big Screen’, Balsara noted, “Each digital platform follows its own definition and standards on viewability, while Facebook counts a view if an ad is seen for three seconds, for Pinterest and Twitter, it's two seconds. On the other hand, TV measurement is far more robust. There is a common rating system that is used for all channels, and it has been established by the industry which combines advertisers, media owners and media agencies who decide what is view, how those views are to be measured and how they are to be reported.”

With so much variation amongst digital publishers and the gold standard used by TV, we need some equivalent metrics to make comparisons among digital publishers and TV channels to arrive at a metric for a multimedia plan, says Balsara. 


Declining attention span

Expressing concerns over declining attention span, Balsara said, “Goldfish is known not just for its beauty and smooth-fast movements but it is supposed to have a very low attention span as low as 9 seconds.” 

In a country of 1.3 or 1.4 billion, there are about 1.6 billion mobile phones of which one billion are smartphones, Balsara said, adding, “A lot of digital advertising is consumed on mobile. A recent Microsoft study established that the biggest casualty of mobile adoption has been attention span and it is now down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. It is even lower than the goldfish's attention span and today I'm sure in 2023 in India it must have gone even lower.”


Prof Nelson Field’s study

Balsara cited media researcher from Australia Professor Karen Nelson Field’s study that demonstrated higher the attention, higher the short-term advertising strength. “Another study demonstrates that 40 per cent brand awareness can be reached with only 600 GRPs for ads which are high in attention, but you would need 2,200 GRPs for ads that have low attention capability,” he noted. 

Balsara further noted, “Prof Nelson’s work on the relative impact of TV exposure versus digital exposure is rapidly gaining ground in many parts of the world now. Fundamentally she says three things: first, a significant relationship exists between attention and sales; second, there is a direct relationship between sales and video size; and third, larger the screen bigger the sales impact.”

“Recently my colleague Vikram met the global CEO of Nielsen in Bombay and his view was that screen size is not important, what is important is the context. But I tend to agree more with Professor Nelson. She has also written a wonderful new book titled “The attention economy and how media works”. 

Those of us who have read Byron Sharp's book and have been following it blindly, should read this book, Balsara advised. 



According to Balsara, a necessary condition of attention is viewability, and it lies on three critical factors-first is coverage; the proportion of the screen that the ad covers, second is clutter (what else is going around the ad on the screen) and last is dwell time or the time for which one is exposed to the ad. 

“We all know that on coverage, TV and Cinema offer advertisers 100% coverage, but not all digital videos offer that. A study conducted as recently as August 2022 shows that as screen coverage increases, attention goes up disproportionately. If only half the screen is available to an ad, you get less than half the attention. So screen coverage, according to research, is a very important element of how well or how poorly an ad works,” he explained. 

“TV ends to score since at least when the ad is playing, the screen is clutter-free unlike in many formats of digital ads especially when you're scrolling your news feeds. There is a lack of standards followed by digital publishers for digital video. If a video ad is seen on the screen with 50 per cent of pixels for at least two continuous seconds, the mighty media rating council for video viewability standards says it can be counted as a view for the advertiser. We feel that two continuous seconds is just too low.”

Balsara noted that many studies even by digital publishers have shown that sales impact can begin to increase dramatically when the exposure increases beyond five seconds.


Some brands take lead on common standards

With so much variation amongst digital publishers and the standard used by TV, we need some equivalence metrics to make comparisons among digital publishers and TV channels to arrive at a metric for a multimedia plan, says Balsara. 

He added, “I'm sure experts will agree on the common equivalent standard. Many large advertisers have developed their own limited research belief systems in this area. It is very necessary to establish this equivalence metric with TV being the gold standard. My agency made one such attempt.”

A study which measures media channel efficiency puts online video at 22 per cent compared to TV’s 100 per cent, Balsara informed. 

We need to move from just reach to reach adjusted for attention metrics viewability. We have to recognize a basic attention metric, and given the multitude of definitions across digital publishers on what constitutes a view arriving at a viewability, equalization is very necessary. 

On connected TV

Balsara admits that linear TV is coming down and connected TV is emerging fast mainly because CTV offers us a unique benefit-the targetability of digital and the viewability of television. 

“Another emerging in TV's armor is that we now know the TV viewership is not equal even among every person in a defined target audience. About a third of that audience are underserved by any TV campaign. Google now gives us the option of choosing to target those live TV viewers. So you can meet the gap in your TV plan by adding digital video to reach the light viewers of television.”

According to Balsara, digital videos are growing, and usage along with its targetability option makes up for lower viewability. Besides, digital offers behavioral targeting. While this may not make sense for large mass brands, but for brands that want to appeal to narrow audiences or want to top up their mass campaigns, need to take a serious look at this. 


On media mix in complex world 

Media mix decisions have become very complex and seldom can you use only one medium alone as we used to do in the past. Besides, the era of one-size-fits-all is long gone.  The success of the media planner of today and tomorrow is going to be not how well he can deal with this complexity, but how he can reduce this complexity and draw simple home truths from all the complex data that is available. 

Balsara recalled Late Dhirubhai Ambani and his life trajectory from a petrol pump attendant to setting up one of the largest business conglomerates in India. “He was no big technocrat, had no big technology, but he had a sharp but simple mind. I believe his major strength was his ability to reduce complexity into simple actionable strategic points for himself.”

TV in India till today continues to be the staple medium for large mass brands. You can't beat TV for its brand building capability, its lowest costs per additional reach points, mass reach and high attention value, Balsara assured the audience. 

“Our commitment should be not necessarily to a medium but our commitment should be to increase the advertisers’ sales. It is the long-term interest of every media owner also,” he opined. 


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