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The case of two measurements: aMap there, but TAM is the single industry currency

15-March-2010
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The case of two measurements: aMap there, but TAM is the single industry currency

Very recently, the television industry again witnessed the problems that two measurement systems can create. In the Budget week, while aMap showed Bloomberg UTV to be the leader, TAM Media Research showed CNBC-TV18 continuing its reign. Bloomberg UTV advertised its aMap score, and CNBC TV18 called this ‘manipulative’ once the TAM numbers were out. Next, Bloomberg UTV slapped a defamatory notice on CNBC-TV18’s Managing Editor, stating that his comments against the channel could be detrimental to Bloomberg UTV’s business interests. CNBC-TV18 replied by saying that it had not mentioned any channel’s name. Bloomberg UTV is still contemplating taking the channel to court.

While this is just channel wars, the broad question is when there is the presence of two measurement systems – where even the later entrant, aMap is now five years old – how are the industry stakeholders looking at the two systems.

TAM is currency

Over the years, TAM Media Research has established itself as the industry benchmark, and the reliable currency that channels and media agencies converse on. While this is true for all agencies, the reasons vary. The most popular one being – two heads are not better than one when it comes to industry currency.

R Gowthaman (GMan), Leader, Mindshare South Asia, explained that when share of voice of any plan was tracked, and aspects such as cost per rating point (CPRP) was measured to gauge the share built on the basis of reach and frequency, TAM data was used. He said, “From a client viewpoint, the only data used is TAM data, and nothing else.”

Ajit Varghese, MD, Maxus India, reiterated GMan’s point and said, “TAM Media Research is industry backed and we use that alone. We don’t feel the need to operate on two data systems and add to the confusion. TAM has been able to shell out robust and consistent programme trends and meets the industry standards.”

Most industry leaders are of the opinion that TAM Media Research has been able to meet the industry’s needs and set new standards. TME’s President, Divya Radhakrishnan, voiced the same opinion, stating, “TAM has superior software and we have great comfort with its methodology. While aMap data is available overnight, the time that TAM takes is also used for data validation, and hence, it has been able to create trust in the industry.”

NP Sathyamurthy, CEO, Karishma Initiative, explained that while at present, TAM was used for all commercial transactions, one reason for that also was that not many channels were using aMap data, and TAM Media was the more prevalent data available.

Mediaedge:cia India’s MD, T Gangadhar, explained the measurement scenario in one sentence, “Two data systems is the perfect recipe for disaster – why would anyone want to do that? And you don’t need anything since TAM is robust and addresses industry needs.”

aMap used by broadcasters

One of the key reasons that the industry still has aMap data is due to the broadcaster support that the measurement system sees. Industry leaders believe that the overnight availability of data helps broadcasters and can help media planners as well in big ticket properties and new launches.

GMan observed, “The overnight availability of data helps channels in tracking the performance of new launches, or even course correcting when it comes to key properties.” Sathyamurthy, too, pointed out that aMap had the advantage of speed. On this point, Radhakrishnan said, “The advantage of speed is of no great consequence to agencies and even advertisers, but it makes a difference to channels. The more proactive channels can refer to these to gauge how a change is working for them, or for competition, and what can be done about it.”

As is known, TAM Media Research would be giving data bi-weekly soon and is constantly updating its universe and offering new services to the industry. aMap, on the other hand, has undertaken several new initiatives, too, but has to still earn industry trust. Media agency heads and channel owners have their own ways of gauging how much TAM would rating be if aMap has a certain number, but it is still the TAM number that aids in the final decision. Industry leaders like GMan are of the opinion that it would depend on how the two systems co-exist to know whether we would still have a two-data system in the market a few years from now.

Tags TAM Media Research CNBC-TV18 Bloomberg UTV Noor Fathima Warsia

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