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Television ratings business no more monopolistic

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Television ratings business no more monopolistic

Sony’s ‘Hum 2 Hai Na’ has been launched on the day before but we have already got an indication of the opening numbers. STAR’s ‘Dekho Magar Pyaar Se’ too has to wait another week for TAM ratings to pass a judgment but we know that as far as the Mumbai market is concerned, the rating of the two shows for August 2 is not very different. In an overall scene, the difference is around 0.4, suggests aMap – the latest development on the Indian television-ratings scenario.

For at least the past two years, TAM Media Research has been the single window to television viewership measurement. Enter aMap – the world of real-time reflection of competition in the market – if nothing else, the new entrant has certainly raised the interest level of the industry around television ratings, at least, to a little extent.

Let’s look at the numbers more closely. Considering the target CS 4+ in Mumbai market, Sony’s ‘Hum 2 Hai Na’ gives a figure of 2 as against STAR’s ‘Dekho…’ which scores 2.4. However, if an advertiser decides to consider a specific target, for instance, households with a four-wheeler and two children in the age 4 to 19, numbers in the same market change from 2.4 to 2.3 for STAR and from 2 to 0.7 for Sony.

The benefits as can be seen, are that the ratings are available as late as of yesterday. Clients have access to the figures over the Internet. The software allows you to choose a product-specific viewership, which can be anything that a planner or an advertiser would like to look at. An added advantage is that the samples here also fill in details for the quality of programming, rating them from bad to excellent. “It’s like a small market research,” says Raviratan Arora, MD, aMAP, “And, this is just one of the value-adds that comes with the ratings.” Recently joined with him on the helm of affairs is Tapan Pal as the company's CEO.

aMap’s Action Plan:

aMap has entered the market with quite a few promises. Currently, however, it is activated only in three markets – Mumbai, with a sample size of 400, Delhi too with 400 and Ahmedabad with 200. However, the agency plans to establish an all-India connect with 20,000 samples in the next two years. The roll out plan is still being fixed but Arora informs that the next on the chart is the East with areas of Orissa, followed by West Bengal and then Andhra Pradesh. “The work here will begin anytime now,” he says.

With an investment of Rs 60 to 70 crore in the project, the agency is on a constant pitching process. In the current state, it is offering various media organisations with a 30-day free trial period. As a result channels like Aaj Tak, NDTV, MTV, Zee Network and STAR India and agencies like GroupM, Madison and Mudra are also using the data.

As of now, aMap doesn’t have a single client but Arora explains that they are already in the process of closing deals with at least two potential clients.

aMap is entering the market at an introductory rate of Rs 2 lakh, “The client will have access to all the data and other services at this rate. Otherwise, based on the kind of information that a client wants, the rate changes. For instance, some might not want all the cities or a specific set of channels or some might not want to customise audience in a specific way. Then, based on that, these clients will be charged lesser,” explains Arora. “At this stage, we have to bring value to the table first and then the clients will pay and we are confident that going forward, the service will lead to an increase in rates," adds Pal.

Comparison to Competition:

As far as sample is concerned, in the given markets, TAM has the complete sample size. In totality, TAM presently has 5000 homes. TAM data is made available a week after it is captured. Where data collection for TAM is manual, for aMap, it will be connected through cell phones or landlines, whichever is available in the given areas. A question that comes to fore here is whether the Indian infrastructure is strong enough to allow technological dependency.

Another issue is that though speed in delivering information is a point where aMap seemingly does score above TAM, how much will it help the present-day media professionals. From a producer’s point of view, the content is not created on a daily basis and from an advertiser’s viewpoint, most deals are usually locked much in advance to allow actionable points based on a daily result. In that light, the Indian media might still have to get used to utilise the information with that speed.

When the ratings until week 30 were compared between aMap and TAM, the trends thrown weren’t different. For instance, Aaj Tak is a clear leader as far as news channels are concerned. STAR Plus maintains the distance it has with number two Sony and Zee follows them by similar margins. Going by these, there isn’t much difference between the two rating systems.

Nonetheless, on being questioned about the new player, LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media, expresses, “In the last two years, TAM has become more than a currency. We are not just ratings but a lot of other services to the users, whether it is AdEx, more on concepts like in-programme placements, promo planning paper, science of promos or S-Group and Measurement Science Initiative.”

He also throws light on the different initiatives that TAM Media adopts time and again. “We are constantly looking at what other value-added benefits we can provide to our users. Even now, we have a few things planned out, which we will discuss when the time is right,” says Krishnan.


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