TAM to cross 10,000 Peoplemeter mark soon

04 Jun,2012

By Meghna Sharma


In a country like India with numerous channels on air and where television watching is an obsession, it is vital for broadcasters and advertisers to know how well the channels and the various programmes on them fare. TAM, a joint venture between AC Nielson Research Services (Nielsen Company) & Kantar Market Research, was mandated by the broadcast and advertising industry to do exactly that. Over the last decade-and-a-half, TAM has been optimizing coverage of the growing TV audience across the country by increasing breadth (expanding to cover larger number of new markets) and depth (enable deeper level of analysis in existing data markets).


By the year end, the TAM Media Research plans to increase its sample size by nearly 2000 households. The present expansion is in alignment with the above thought process and is an attempt to bring insights on audience engagement with TV Content. “The current Indian broadcast landscape is dotted with some very different and complex influencing factors like the need to dive deep into untapped semi-urban/rural markets and the upcoming mandate of digitization,” says LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research.


He adds, “With digitization, we are already seeing increase in not only the channels entering the distribution pipe but also audiences trailing more content across newer genre of channels. As the long tail of unique content channels explode in 100% digital markets (Phase I being the Metros), TAM will be enhancing the sample size in these digital markets (Metros) to throw more light into audience consumption of these unique content channels. This enhancement will benefit micro targeting of viewer groups for not only broadcasters with their content but also advertisers interested in specific audience groups for their brand communication.”


Keeping this in mind, TAM will be taking a few steps. The first initiative being taken is to increase the panel size in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad totalling 650 homes. This will increase the SEC AB sample size in these metros by around 60%. All additional 650 homes will be recruited among C&S SEC AB homes.


But that’s not all. As part of the initiative, TAM will expand in the less than class I India markets too. In the annual January 2012 establish report, the fastest growth for digital TV platform continued to be from less than Class I towns (with population of less than one lakh) and semi-rural markets in the Hindi belt markets. “This affirmed our hunch of the need to beef up representation in the semi-rural markets. Since 2009, we have been covering Maharashtra in the ‘Less than Class I’ geographic stratum. To this stratum, we are now adding seven more states: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP. These will be reported as individual states except for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh which will, as usual, be reported together as PHCHP,” adds Mr Krishnan. The increasing the sampling across these five new markets will be 1110.


With this expansion, TAM will practically complete covering the entire urban stratum for the Hindi Speaking Market group. This also means that TAM will now cross the 10,000 Peoplemeter deployment mark and will be add 63 more towns to the existing base number of (162) sample towns with this expansion. Now, it will cover 225 towns.


However, there are some who feel that an increase of a sample size of 2000 is not enough. “From the current sample size of around 8000, an increase of around 2000 more does brings up the number, but considering the size of the country it’s not an ideal number to know the ‘correct’ pulse of the viewers,” feels Anamika Mehta, COO, Lodestar UM.


Agreeing with her, Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd., adds, “With the current sample size, it is very difficult to map the evolving choice of consumers. And right now TAM does not represent the digitalized packages. Therefore, until and unless it is done universally it won’t be able to ‘help’ like it should be. I would want TAM to look at their international counterparts to learn from them how they tackle the issues.”


Even Sunil Lulla, MD and CEO at Times Television Network believes it’s high time that TAM woke up and smelled the coffee. “We are delighted that finally the industry pressure has worked. Many broadcasters, including us, have been telling TAM about various issues which affect our rating process. So, we hope that this increase in sample size, though small but relevant, will benefit and mark a beginning of improvement and swift growth of the system.”


There are many who feel that the move by the TV audience measuring firm should be welcomed and shouldn’t be criticized. “We should understand what a tedious process it is. And over the years, TAM has been working to help the industry. TAM has been working with the over 8000 sample size for years now, so we should give them credit for increasing it. This move will not only increase the household numbers but also increase the cities which will make the sample more robust,” points out Anilkumar Sathiraju, Mudra Max Media, Head – South. As proposed, TAM has started preparing to implement both the initiatives in the full swing. Both the data cuts are targeted to be made available starting January 2013.


Mr Sathiraju adds, “However, there is no denying the fact that over 10,000 sample size for a country with over one billion population isn’t correct. And I hope and wish that this will lead to a quicker growth in the next level of the phase. It is a challenge and hopefully won’t take years.”


Mr Krishnan is of the view that the measures initiated will benefit broadcast. “Over the last three years, in our annual baseline (Establishment) study we conduct and release in Week 1 of January, we are witnessing a tremendous growth of Cable & Satellite TV and Digital TV platform penetration. This growth is fuelled by the growing aspiration to engage in multiple Content – Entertainment & Information, that these platforms are providing on a simple TV screen. In the Jan 2012 report, the fastest growth for Digital TV platform has come from less than Class I towns (with population of less than 100,000) and Semi Rural markets in the Hindi belt markets. Once access and engagement with multiple content happens, it is pertinent to measure the behaviour to help broadcasters, in particular, the regional language broadcasters for aligning content to these audiences. It also satisfies advertisers and nedia agencies needs as their need to target brand communications to consumers in these markets become a reality. Also, these new markets from TAM will give you a closer picture to the Rural India’s TV consumption habits in the Hindi heartland.”


Meanwhile, with the imminent digitization in the four Metros, Mr Krishnan explains that in a market in Mumbai and  Delhi, with already 25% of the TAM panel and market digitized, his team and he are seeing new patterns of viewing settling in. “More viewers are glued to genres of their choice and landing straight on their favourite stations. Time spent with TV and within specific genres are increasing too. This will mean that there is enough scope for more channels to either get launched within the existing genres or new genres with Unique Content will launched soon in the new 100% digital era (given that creating access to the Content will be easy!). Tier packages will get formed and purchased by the potential viewers, thus sub-segmenting the audiences into more fractions! To capture these new behaviour trends, TAM is increasing the metro samples by almost 60% and in markets like Mumbai and Delhi, TAM is almost doubling the sample!! This will help broadcasters and bdvertisers to not only understand audience content consumption patterns but also target their programming and brand communications very well.”


So what next? The preparation to implement both the initiatives is in “full swing”. Both data cuts will be made available starting January 2013.Also, with an eye to aid the understanding of the digitization progress, TAM has initiated The TAM DASES (DAS Estimation Study) : A study focused on the Phase 1 markets (as notified by the I&B Ministry for DAS implementation). Wait for it!


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2 responses to “TAM to cross 10,000 Peoplemeter mark soon”

  1. Prasenjit says:

    Even with tihe increase in metered households, it will I guess depict about .03 % of India’s target market. Well, a very small fragment to decide on a complex and large heterogenous market like India.

  2. pm says:

    so, once again – what about overnight ratings? with the abundance of mobile phones across the length and breadth of the country why are broadcasters not demanding overnight ratings as a regular feature rather than have to rely on the current system which relies on an archaic method of collecting data and presenting the finding days and weeks later. why is TAM not using mobile technology to overcome the 2 basic issues of speed of response and depth of findings? this is available in more mature markets and so would be easily accessible.