"TV ratings data should be briefly suspended from Nov 1"

Even as the move is resisted by agencies and advertisers, broadcasters are convinced viewership should not be reported till “digitisation settles”

by Noor Fathima Warsia
Published - Oct 9, 2012 2:21 AM Updated: Oct 9, 2012 2:21 AM
"TV ratings data should be briefly suspended from Nov 1"

As the industry prepares for digitisation, one of the biggest steps that broadcasters hope would be taken is the suspension of TV ratings data from TAM Media Research. As is known, the changed deadline for digitisation, under the aegis of DAS (Digital Addressable System) for the four metros -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai -- is November 1, 2012.

The four markets are expected to undergo various changes at the time including switching off of channels in homes that have not transitioned to a digital distribution platform. According to broadcast sources, a revisit of people-meter homes is also required due to digitisation.

On the back of these arguments, the IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) has initiated the dialogue to suspend viewership reportage of all genres, beginning November 1, 2012, so that the settling in period of digitisation is “seamless”.

Giving the IBF viewpoint here, Man Jit Singh, IBF’s President and the CEO of Multi Screen Media said, “Given the transition period required for digitisation, which could entail anything from channels switching off in certain areas to even the required recalibrating of people-meter homes, the IBF is of the opinion that viewership reporting in the initial days of digitisation may not be accurate. Hence, it would be better for TV ratings to be suspended for the period that digitisation needs to settle in.”

TAM Media Research could not be contacted while filing a report but a senior media agency CEO stated here, “This will be a disaster if it had to actually happen. In addition to the day-to-day requirements of viewership data in planning and so on, there also are some big properties that one would need to monitor at the time. Lack of viewership data will create chaos.”

The marketing head of a BFSI company pointed out that the advent of a no-data scenario, even if for a short period, is likely to impact the television fraternity itself as advertisers would be cautious about spending big monies on television properties without knowing the returns on these spends.

The broadcast fraternity is going all out to the push the November 1, 2012 deadline for digitisation. One of the steps that is being discussed in this is the blackout of genres on particular days to reiterate on the viewer the need to opt for a set-top box in the given deadline. Broadcasters are also heavily advertising the new deadline for this cause. The conversation to suspend ratings for the initial days of digitisation is also said to be a step from this thought process.

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