TAM’s set for Digitization: L V Krishnan

20 Jul,2012

 

If there ever was a poll in the television industry professionals to name the one entity that impacts their business the most, it will not be the Government of India which has, mercifully, been taking a backseat in recent times. It’s TAM Media Research of course since it manages the ratings. Heading TAM since October 2000 has been LV Krishnan. Other than the owners and a few professionals at some of the networks, he has been one of the few constants in the business. And that puts him in a vantage position as the Indian television industry gets set for its big leap into digitization. Although delayed by four months in the four meros, digitization can indeed alter the course of the broadcast business in the country.

 

In an interview with MxMIndia’s Pradyuman Maheshwari,  Mr L V Krishnan speaks on how TAM Media is getting set for the new world, the investments he’s making for the 650 boxes in the four metros and 20% increase in staff and most importantly the opportunities for smaller, niche players post-digitization. For once, we are not publishing excerpts from the interview, but nearly the entire transcript given the nature of the content and the benefit of the industry. Here goes:

 

With just a little more 100 days left for the new Sunset Date, how is TAM getting ready for digitization?

Actually for us, the July 1 was the date when digitization was supposed to happen. So, we expected it will hit that date and things will move forward from there for at least the four cities. We didn’t see the four cities as the big issue clearly because there was a certain percentage which had converted into digital in the last three years as a slow-burning exercise.

 

As per a TAM Study, as on Jan 2012, Mumbai already had touched a digital penetration of 25% and Delhi touching with a score of 20%. The other two metros, Chennai and Kolkata were lagging behind.  Interestingly, if we look at those same figures in first week of June 2012, those same numbers for Mumbai had shot up to 35% and Delhi to 26%. Chennai and Kolkata which were lagging behind as of January had by now touched around 24%.

 

Awareness in the markets on digitization was really high. In Kolkata there was 90%+ awareness level, Delhi and Mumbai had close to 80%. So, from the awareness and on-going installation perspective it was going very smoothly. Except that there is a gap between the awareness and the actual set-top box induction into homes. So, at TAM, we expected that all will culminate on June 30 when the sudden peak happens. And we expected digitization to hit close to 60% by June 30 if the deadline had been kept in pace and implementation went rampant. So that’s how our panel was also moving forward. The TAM panel hence is already 35-40% digital homes in these markets, especially in Mumbai and Delhi.

 

Now once the digitization hits in, we are expecting three things to happen.

1) The access to long-tail channels (many of them with unique content targeting viewer segments) which means the channels which are not presently seen on TV screens due to bandwidth issues at the operator’s end suddenly jump up. Therefore, the number of these long-tail channels will grow significantly.

 

2) There will be an initial 8- to 12-week period when audiences are going to try new genres or new channels before they settle back to the list of favourites.

 

3) There is going to be higher growth in time spent in other day parts in various segments of audiences which you don’t see much in the present analog era.

 

So, considering these things in our analysis, we have planned out an expansion of the TAM panel in the four metros by an addition of almost 50% of homes. The objective of the expansion is to give a boost to more sample viewers to these long-tail channels, enabling more robustness in the data we provide to users.

 

More than 50% homes in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata?

Yes. An additional 650 homes.

 

And this is in line to the announcement you had made earlier. (see TAM to cross 10,000 Peoplemeter mark soon @ http://www.mxmindia.com/?p=22044)

Yes, the announcement that we made in the month of June about the expansion of the sample size.

 

 

You just said that 20 days before the deadline, 35-40% digitization was achieved. So if digitization had to happen by July 1, there was a fair distance to be walked?

Ever since the digitization exercise started on the ground, TAM began to conduct a baseline study. The once-a-year baseline study we release on digital penetration every Jan has now become almost a monthly study from May 2012 just to gauge the digital penetration in the four cities. The first wave encompassing 12,000 homes in the study across the 4 cities was ready three weeks prior to the deadline of July 1. This showed that while the penetration levels in a market like Mumbai were 35%, we were on way to touch a 60% mark of digitization if we had kept the pressure up through the month of June 2012 (since awareness levels for digitization were over 80%). We had the entire month of June left!

 

Do you think the path for digitization has slowed down again?

The growth certainly seems to have slowed down as per our present on-going baseline study.

 

Are you optimistic about the Oct 31 deadline?

There was a clear momentum in May and June because there was communication happening at an overall industry level to consumer about the impending digitization. I haven’t seen any new communication about the new deadline and will have to check the data to see if new communication informing consumers about the new deadline of digitization has started or not. In the absence of the lack of new communication, obviously the demand of those boxes is not going to come up immediately. It will only get pushed from platform owners – DTH or cable operators – to push the box into the home by telling consumers about the Nov 1 deadline. Given that there was 90% awareness in markets like Kolkata and 80% in markets like Delhi and Mumbai about digitization happening on July 1, the conversion could have been much higher if the date had not been pushed. The minute you push the date there is a slack in demand. Now we need to bring back that awareness of Nov 1; it requires that much more inventory-burning from broadcasters to make that awareness. And at the same time, synchronize it at the local level to make the consumer buy into the set-top box. It’s another big task.

 

Back to the 650 additional boxes, when will that happen?

We had kept the time between July and December, keeping in mind the July1 digitization as obviously, all these new panel homes too will be in the digital end of the market. Now with digitization being pushed back to Nov 1, while our present panel will automatically align to the new digital universe, we will have to ensure that for these new additional panel homes being recruited, the profiles we select are in alignment with the new digital universe profiles too (via using our baseline studies again). That may require some additional time. Work is in progress.

 

You have three levels of data currently – analogue, CAS and DTH, will you now have four levels of data?

In markets like Mumbai and Delhi, there is already Terrestrial, Analogue cable and Digital (which has representations of Digital cable and DTH). What will happen is that analogue cable will get phased out completely after Nov 1 and what will exist is only Digital cable and DTH. The only interesting fact is that, the DAS is applicable to the city part in the phase I, it’s not applicable to the Urban Agglomeration (UA) part of the city. So for the city part from a TAM perspective, whatever is reported will be for Digital, because any analogue signal will be considered as pirated signal automatically and cannot be reported as per the legislation. How much of the digital happens in the UA part as it does not fall under the phase I exercise, will have an impact on overall city reporting. So if UA part becomes 100% Digital too on Nov 1, then there won’t be anything called analogue data for the 4 cities.

 

But it’s going to take some time, right, since UA part goes digital only in 2013?

Part of UA is in Phase II and part of it is going to Phase III as per the legislation. But we see digital conversions happening in UA part too presently.

 

A city like Delhi also has a complex UA…

Delhi has NCR. So how much of it gets converted after Phase I, we will have to watch through our baseline. My guess is, Delhi is much easier than Mumbai and Kolkata.

 

You mentioned about the channels which are in a sense on periphery now in analogue but will now get noticed. How equipped are you for this since the extent of data you will crunch for the larger number of channels will leapfrog?

Because more long-tail channels are going to become accessible, but those channels base level viewers are going to be minuscule in nature.  So, to bring in more sample viewers to these long-tail channels is why we are boosting up the sample numbers in these four markets so that they also have equal opportunity to grab viewing that mainstream channels have.

 

The interesting eventuality of digitization is distribution parity. This itself will ensure that every channel will have equal opportunity to get sampled by the viewer. Now given this distribution parameter as constant, the preference of the viewers will be based on the following parameters:

 

1. Inheritance of loyalty – today what I watch is what will get carried over in the digital era given the fact that content is not going to change but it’s only the accessibility that is going to increase.

 

2. Marketing and the promotional effect – The one who yells the loudest will get the largest walk-in. The bigger strength of network stations will emerge out in digital phase than the independent stations. Clearly, because the independent stations will not have the bandwidth to talk to larger segment of the population and address it through marketing and promotional campaign.

 

3. The buoyancy of viewing – the large accumulation of family members will continue to drive viewing patterns dramatically. Digitization is not going to bring about a revolution in number of TV sets in the home, it’s only going to increase the bandwidth on the same TV sets already accessed by the family.

 

So all these things will ensure that on one hand while accessibility is created in distribution, the present set of genres that capture larger set of viewers, will not change dramatically even in the digital era unless and until some of the smaller channels start shaking out of being independent to start joining networks or using the networks to become more dominant.

 

Which is what the job of a bouquet is… and we also have a bouquet for independent channels in existence in the form of Prime Connect. To give you an example from print, the magazines crib that the readership survey is unable to monitor niche publications and how they are read and consumed. Given that a lot of niche channels will come up, how well these are going to be measured?

It will happen in three stages, in order to capture the unique content channel’s viewing patterns.

 

The stage 1 is when we are doing the base line studies. We had done this study in June and will continue it in July and August, September, October, November. It will roll on till the end of the year to get an essence of how the things are changing on the ground and we’ll keep reflecting that change in the panel. It will be like a mirror data set.

 

In this baseline exercise, we are also capturing the most important data which is called the tier-packages that homes are subscribing to in the digital era. In each tier, we are also capturing the kind of channels that are coming into those tier packages. Now if we start looking at the kind packages that are getting developed and the kind of subscription those packages are fetching, we see that packages are centered either around Kids Content (in only homes with Kids as household members), language (regional flavour adding to it) or lifestyle (which is to do with premium channels per se) or it could do to with functional content (which is to with education, food etc.). So when you look at these tier packages brought into a home, we see that it is centered towards fundamental variables like availability of Kids in the home, Language spoken in the home or the lifestyle that they lead in home. And if these fundamental parameters that are assigned to purchase of tier-packages are already built in the sampling plan itself, then there shouldn’t be any conflict at all between the growth in tier packages vis-a-vis the data we report for Unique Content channels. We already have variables like Kids presence in the Home, Language Preferred in the Home as fundamental variables in our panel home selections.

 

And is this data is from TAM study?

Yes. So, for example, when we do the measurement, we are already planning and selecting homes in such a way that the proportion of families with kids are taken care of in the base sampling. The proportion of different languages in the city of Mumbai is also taken care of. Hence when we have the fundamental variables already in place in the base sampling plan itself, the variables that will affect purchase of tier packages at consumer end is already taken care of. Now what could be happening is that there may not be enough viewers that might exist in the panel while reporting a channel within a small unique content genre. So than you do boosting in specific target segments, keeping in mind the variables we can weight back to the Universe. Hence in a larger sense, these additional set of homes we are introducing in the panel across the four metros post digitization is to give a boost to the base viewers for these kind of unique content genre channels, which we call as the long-tail channels. Eventually, there will be new specialized genres coming up like Auto genre, Fitness genre, International Travel genre etc. trying to reach out to Unique small segments of audiences. The advantage of digitization is that you can talk to segmented audiences without worrying about the spill-over effect to audiences not connecting with that type of Content. As the scenario pans out, the panel is getting ready to capture these kind of future audiences too.

 

And we are going to have a la carte too so if a neighbour tells me that I should try out Channel X, I can subscribe to just that… Therefore, there could be a boost in terms of reach for a channel after a few months of digitization starts which will also need to be captured.

Yes. Actually what you are seeing is a trend among the homes that have got digitalized. In fact, most of the homes presently have gone for either the basic tier with language channels or for all the channels that are available. The minute the digitization comes into play full force, they’ll make sure that the channels they want are all there plus any other host of channels the operator is providing, so there is no clear cut-off limit. The reason is that, they might want to experiment with what they like and what they want to explore so after some time, they might go back to the operator and say these are the actual list of TV channels they would want (and not want) and therefore, is there a package you can give us or you want to give us a full-fledged bouquet of all channels put together.

 

Presently, from the Digital Homes data, the accessibility of channels have increased tremendously but consumption of these long tail channels haven’t grown in similar proportions.

 

As digitization starts maturing and audiences start coming up with preferences according to the likes and dislikes of family members, this is where we are going to see the biggest impact of Digitization and the need to get ready in the future to handle such customers by the Broadcast and Distribution community. Audiences will start selecting channels and creating preferential set of channels they want to watch and those channels may not be mass audience genres in nature. We will be using the baseline data plus the subscription data that comes from operators to tell us that which kind of profile of audiences are choosing what kind of packages and see how we want to make them inclusive in the Peoplemeter study.

 

Ok, what if a new channel comes up catering to just Class 10 ICSE students… that’s not going to have pockets in terms of location. How do you plan to grapple with issues like these?

In the sampling plan, we are ensuring that there is enough representation of homes with kids in the age band of 4 to 9 years and 10 to 14 years age. But it is important here to realize that Peoplemeter measurement is not the only way and the final way of measuring audiences. Hence the reason TAM is already working with couple of Digital TV platform owners and exploring the usage of STB in measuring audience behavior for channels broadcasting Content in Unique genres. Gradually, as Digitization grows and segments get created in viewing patterns, there will definitely be other forms of data available to gauge viewing behaviour from TAM.

 

I am not worried about channels that are seeking audiences that are mass segments of population or segments that are language oriented in nature or catering to specific demographic segment of population…because those are things that are already taken care by panel that we have built in already. I am looking at channels that are closeted towards specific kind of audiences. Like a sport that may be among a certain class of audiences who may be playing and watching that particular game – those kind of homes may be too small to get represented fully in a panel. Maybe there are few in the panel that are watching that sport and also playing it but they may not be enough sample size to represent that kind of audience. That’s where we will continue working with Digital platform owners and help in unraveling the behavior patterns of that specific group of audiences. In this regards, we have already taken the first steps towards unearthing these kind of information for future.

 

In the case of channel selection to a panel, it is choice made by TAM or does the channel pay for it?

The fact that the channel in a genre is existing and viewed by specific kind of audiences means that it gets reported in TAM. But in the coming months, the TAM Measurement Science unit along with their international counterparts are giving this rule a hard look. There may be minimum cut-off requirements for new channels and some existing channels in very small genres to qualify for reporting in TAM on a regular basis. The white paper is being presently under discussion and will be discussed with the industry members before it comes into implementation. Of course, subscription to the service of TAM has nothing to do with a channel getting reported or not. The data reporting will continue to be operated as per set international guidelines and norms governed by the Measurement Science team.

 

It is just about four metros right now in the Phase I of digitization, but as we go forward, do you anticipate greater complexities?

In terms of geography growth, yes, it is going to be a much harder task to ensure 100% compliance to digital in hinterland markets. But the interesting aspect of digitization presently is that, its penetration is higher in mmall towns and rural segment of population than in urban areas and the metros. So in a way, by the time the legislation hits these small markets, 50% of homes could have anyway got digitized already. First, we should get this process started in the four metros. The benefits of digitization needs to be experienced and then communicated to help other markets see the exercise in the right light.

 

On the consumer front, there is much more homogeneity in the TV viewing behaviour than the heterogeneity we observe in various other segments. Whether it is eating food at home or clothes we wear, there is much more diversity among families in those areas compared to the homogeneity that exists in TV viewing. 80 per cent of what constitutes TV viewing will get constrained by the top 30 or 40 channels, even though the accessibility can go upto 500 odd channels in the home (as per TRAI guidelines). Because ultimately time spent that dictates channel share will actually get compelled to be limited to those 30-40 channels.

 

Now, what makes these 30 – 40 channels preferred by the viewers will be depended on the stimuli which will be based on the content that these channels put in, which has led to loyalty over the last couple of years. Second, from the POV of marketing and promotions, and thirdly, on the kind of pricing they offer as a bouquet. So, I do not see any big changes on that 80 per cent of the viewing time spent presently. But, where we see the alterations in terms changes in viewing patterns is between the channels within the genres and within the remaining 20% of the viewing time for the long-tail channels. Those long-tail channels that have accessibility – they will have to start fighting and come into prominence among the viewers’ mindset to say: hey, I am here can you have a look at me and sample me much more effectively than what you are doing in the early analog world. They will need to start edging towards becoming the 38th or 39th channel from the bottom and enter into the mind space of the viewer.  And how they do that will be will be their forte in marketing, programming, scheduling etc. From our perspective, we will be ensuring that, with the panel expansion, these channels will have more sampled homes to benefit from if they create more base viewers for their content.

 

To give you an example of say a Bhojpuri channel that has picked up steam over a period of time…

True. Suppose the Bhojpuri community is about 3 per cent of our population in Mumbai. Therefore, the sampling process itself will have around 3 per cent of the population being built within that community itself cecause language is one of the variables in which the viewing is done. So when Bhojpuri comes into play and becomes a dominant player – to become a dominant player it cannot restrict itself to be a channel that is getting watched within that community because the 97 per cent is larger than the 3 per cent. Hence they will have to start influencing that 97 per cent community to come and watch Bhojpuri channel. From the community that belongs to the Bhojpuri segment, the viewing will be picked up effectively. But if they want to fight the 80 per cent share, they will have to broaden their inputs / stimuli.

 

But a golf channel will never appeal to audience not interested in golf…

Sure enough, but the fact of the matter is that while there may be a golf-loving community, there is nothing that prevents a non-golfer to watch that content provided there are stimulis that garner his interest to watch it. For example if Big B or a Salman Khan inaugurates a golf tournament or even starts playing in a Golf tournament, there is going to be a follow up audiences who are going to come in and tune to that content just because of the star attraction. Hence, branding need not decide who the audience is going to be, it is the weapon of Marketing and Content that will decide who the audiences are going to be.

 

But what does all this mean for the TAM organization? You are looking at 650 boxes, but how many humans….

For us it is an exciting phase beginning next goal of growth largely. It is going to begin from the expansion exercise that we are planning to undertake but, beyond that it is going to much more in trying to unearth new ways to measure a digital mobile audience and in exploring data by building analytical tools for our users to use the data for business decisions.  So the compounding factor will be how the growth rate of digitization will happen and in which form it takes shape.

 

There are newer technologies that come into play, that is, technologies which are moving television, out of home. In that case, we are ready to move with picking up data on in-transit devices like mobile phone or a tablet kind of devices. So it is a kind of anticipation game that we are in to see how things are going to move, which curve digital phase moves into and how consumers are adapting to it so that we have the requisite capability to measure those kind of changes that are happening instinctively.

 

And in terms of team strength?

The good thing about technology is that it takes care of growth in terms of team size which may not be proportionate to the growth in which the technology we implement starts growing. It is more of capability rather than sheer no. of hands per se. So the same person handling one meter technology is now equipped enough to handle two different devices to manage across platforms effectively. So, the 650 meter expansion is not necessarily leading to the increase in number of hands but more in terms of capability of the individual to handle analog measurement as well as digital measurement.

 

The sheer number of channels you are going to be handling…

On the client management side and analytics side obviously there will be much amount of hands that will come into play.

 

What kind of percentage…

At least around 20 per cent more which will happen this year and next year.

 

Are there more investments coming into that?

Yeah! But the biggest investment is the meters, the technology itself because fixing the meters will be proportionately close to 25 to 30 per cent of the existing cost. Then there is the variable cost of running the operation for the additional 650 homes, so effectively there will be close to 50 to 60 per cent higher cost that we will have to absorb to make this exercise happen.

 

On whether these are met internal accruals?

It is presently internal because we believe the fact that it is the need of the hour as digitization comes into play. We need to put them in place to ensure that the data continues to be robust and moving forward usable in a practical way for decision making by small channels. At the same time the cost will be spread across a couple of years for clients so it will be a combined exercise.

 

Any areas you think are your challenges in this whole process?

I think the biggest challenge for us is not the metros, it is the expansion into small towns and rural markets, that is, the future rural market. We have already taken the first step in that direction and we will be releasing the less than Class I data from west and North markets in Jan 2013. This is where the biggest challenge is going to lie for us. Presently, we cover 162 cities with addition of less than class one towns, we will be crossing a whooping 225 to 230 towns. It means the fact that we are touching even towns with population of around ten thousand, which means you are talking about towns with just two thousand homes. So when you look at those kinds of towns, where it is so thinly populated, where every neighbor knows not only his neighbor, but the entire town! So there are security issues that you got to take care of and that is one of the biggest and toughest job that we have on our hand presently.

 

So, managing security, connectivity and the inventory are the three biggest priorities that we have in terms of focus points. When I say security, it is the management of security at the ground level which means trying to ensure that the home remains confidential by primarily revolving homes continuously. By ensuring code of norms that each home follows in terms for the security.  Acting in whatever possible manner on MIS that we get from ground, from every town regularly. Connectivity is ensuring that the data that gets picked up by the meter gets transmitted to the head end because GPRS connections are not all that stable in all the markets. Ensuring alternate methods exist for data capturing if the real-time connectivity fails at the service provider end. And third, is continuously upgrading technology and managing the inventory of different technologies, that is, technology working in analogue vs technology working in digital homes. Given the power situation in individual markets, even the hardware that goes along the meters needs to be robust to allow for power flux of varying degrees and ensuring proper power supply to those meters continuously. Therefore to manage these inventories and ensuring that we have right equipment for the right place across 225 locations is becoming an uphill task. But with the right well trained team members and the passion to drive this process day-in and out existing within the team and a big support from our two parent companies – Nielsen and Kantar, we have been able to deliver to cater to the market’s expectations for the last 15 years.

 

Have you started speaking to channels who will be coming on board…?

Yes we are in continuous dialogue with many of them in this course of action and the changes that are expected in the market place. Many of them are seeing this point very clearly the enormity of challenges lying ahead of us in the measurement exercise.

 

On the need for some amount of education for the channels on the impact of digitization…

True there is a huge amount of education that we need to prioritize on. In fact we did some road shows with some clients on the impact of digitization on the channels and what it means from the viewer perspective that changes are expected. Therefore what they should be ready for, some of them are already done, some of them are in the process of being done and some of them will be addressed in the second phase of July – August.

 

Do you anticipate any significant changes in the complexion of the data released post-digitization?

Certain changes are expected to happen but at the end of the day, it depends on the extent to which the growth in digitization happens. We can at best be ready for the change. So far when we say that 35 per cent of homes in Mumbai have got digitized, it has happened over three years time and not over a single day. The subtle changes you see in viewer behaviour are hidden with a time lag that happened in that growth rate. Nevertheless when you look at it at a closer level, there are three or four clear directions that are emerging, which may have a much more profound impact if suddenly on a one single week or one single day the penetration shoots up from a 35 per cent penetration to 60 or 70 per cent digital penetration. From that perspective, the postponement of digitization to November 1 really helps if the continuity of growth in digitization happens like the way it has happened in the month of May and June. Because what it allows is the fact that the user to gets settled with the new equipment at home and therefore his behaviour changes not on a single day, but it settles down over a period of time.

 

Like for example, the biggest change in going forward in a digital era is the way a viewer lands on a particular channel. Today, in the analogue world, the viewer lands onto the channel or a genre which is on prime band but tomorrow when he moves to digital, he will be choosing the channel / genre he wants to land on as a first channel. So that itself changes the complexion of the channel he will be landing and the channel he would like to watch. So what is going to happen is that there are certain set of genre that will actually diminish a little bit in reach terms but, will have a much more prolonged time spent because the viewer is wanting to be and stay with that particular genre once he enters into it in a compounded manner. So some of the genres like the GEC’s, kids, Movies are increasing in terms of their engagement level and therefore seeing growth level in a Digital home than the Analog home.  It also offers opportunities for genres to clearly market themselves much more strongly. For example, genres like News, Biz News, Sports, etc will see the growth from a very clearly targeted audience segment once they clearly identify that segment and start communicating to them in a stronger way about their available Content.

 

The other advantage of digitization is the positioning of the channel within the genre. For example, sports has a distinctive advantage of being present in that particular channel no. for 24 hours and 365 days and not necessarily have to depend on cricket to drive viewership. So it will have the segmented audience for each sport on the same channel. For sports other than Cricket that the audience might have missed out in the earlier analog world where the genre could have got pushed to a hyper band or probably to oblivion once cricket gets over, the Digital world presents a fresh opportunity to them to connect back to audiences.

 

In India we are not going to have too much of a price problem i.e. channels will not be priced very high but, that could also be one of the factors which could determine the choice of channels. True?

True. Internationally price is a very key factor that plays a role in deciding to which tier of packages is the home going to subscribe to. In India at the initial stage of digitization, it will not be so significant wherein the ARPU’s may not go up dramatically. But with time consumers deciding to choose which packages they want depending upon the need of the family, the decision to look at pricing will be very closely linked to the kind of audience that each channel wants to market. So therefore you are bound to see price changes for genres like Sports, Kids, Movies and some GEC’s. While we may see probably some amount of price flux for genres overall, within genres itself we are going to see top three or top four channels which have high brand equity leading the above genre pack with higher price. This may not only happen on just GEC or Movies or Kids but, also on News or music or Regional stations where each one is going to look at how valuable the brand property is and depending on that give a pricing that may be more impactful than the remaining set of channels in that particular genre.

 

You mentioned briefly about getting ready for other forms of viewing in terms of mobile phones. What is that stage of development because we see it happening already…

From our perspective, we are looking at the measurement itself changing in the longer term. Presently we are led with platforms. That is, we measure TAM for television platform, we do RAM for radio platform etc. That’s today’s perspective, based on the way we look at each medium. But, when we look at it from the audience perspective, they are moving seamlessly across these medium and what they are absorbing is something to do with Video, Audio and Text. So for us therefore if we need to cut away from the platform-centric approach and look at it from a consumer perspective, we need to track consumer seamlessly across platforms. Our measurement is also looking at that in a way that we need to move into the future. So it means the fact that whether you watch Video on Television, or whether you watch the same Video content on a Tablet or Mobile phone device, it is only the devices which are different but, the content remains the same. Therefore it will be an accumulation of audiences across the three platforms that we will start to report one day. This means the fact that the viewing will be for the content with an amalgamation of the all platforms rather than today which is segregated as television separately or radio separately.

 

For instance, from what Google and Indiatimes have reported, online viewership for IPL has been fairly good…

What they reported is the reach number… the number of people who came in to watch the game per se which is equivalent to the reach terminology we use on TV or Radio. The engagement factor (Time Spent) was missing from their reporting or probably I might have missed it. From a data user perspective, the engagement factor reported on TV research is more important to understand the value of the Content broadcast.

 

The other perspective of the data sets reported today is that we don’t know whether the online viewers who watched in the digital platform are the same audiences who watched it on television or not and what is the extent of duplication between these two platforms. So that’s where the magic lies in, that if we have the same software tracking all these devices,  we could actually be able to say what is the incremental addon by the digital platforms on to the television platform. So no longer are we chasing or measuring platforms but, we are actually measuring content – in the form of video, in form of audio and in the form of text. That’s the future of measurement coming up soon.

 

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