INMA 2012: ‘Industry needs currency that measures across platforms’

09 Aug,2012


By Shruti Pushkarna


Basant Rathore
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Like Day 1, Day 2 of the 6th INMA annual South Asia conference also witnessed some interesting panel discussions pertaining to issues facing the news industry today.


The first half witnessed an engaging session on, ‘Increased Circulation, Dwindling Readership: Is It Time to Measure “Access”?’ The session was moderated by Lynn de Souza, Chairman & CEO, Lintas Media Group. The panelists included Paritosh Joshi, Independent Media Professional & Board Member of MRUC; LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research Pvt Ltd; and Basant Rathore, Vice President-Strategy, Brand and BD, Jagran Prakashan Ltd.


The panel debated the need for new matrices of measurement which can complement the conventional audience measurement matrices, as today the audiences are increasingly becoming platform-agnostic.


Ms de Souza said: “People seem to be very attached to these numbers. But while numbers are important, we need a currency that goes across platforms. We need to be able to measure new forms of readership. From circulation and readership, we need to change our metric to media access.”


Lynn de Souza
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Mr Paritosh Joshi shared a similar view on the need to look beyond the primary level numbers which he felt are out of date. He said that there are two sorts of media consumption today, structured and unstructured. It is equally important to be able to measure and take into account unstructured media consumption. Just as there are enough screens available today and not just the traditional TV box, he said, the newspaper is not just in the traditional paper form, it is available in other forms across platforms.


Mr L V Krishnan talked of two news aspects coming out in the digital world: “One is the increasing access which is changing things dramatically. The other is multiplicity of brands transiting between different mediums. For instance, a Bombay Times with Zoom or an ET Now with The Economic Times. The nature of one medium declining and the other growing will depend on what the creator of the brand wants to deliver via a particular medium.”


While there was agreement on the importance of numbers and currency, the panelists also highlighted the need to move beyond the existing currency.


Mr Basant Rathore of Jagran said: “Digitization has blurred not just geographical boundaries but also boundaries between mediums. Today we don’t have a clue of numbers in digital media, but they are definitely going to grow. If these can’t be measured, monetization becomes a problem. The advertisers know that the game is moving beyond the existing currency. The research we had till date was about currency but the advertisers are now talking about engagement.”


Mr Joshi added: “The existing measurement systems are accused of fudging numbers. With the new IRS, even real time tracking of interviews is possible. It will be a like a core end satellite model and this will enable us to respond to changes that are happening in the environment. Earlier we looked at data in a cross-sectional slice but what’s of interest to an advertiser is what happens to a consumer through the day. With the new measurement matrices, we are thinking of capturing all digital research to get a horizontal longitudinal view of a consumer’s media movements.”


The panel also agreed on the need for industry to be willing to adopt new matrices of measurement and to support measurement that looks beyond primary access numbers. Mr Rathore concluded: “Numbers will continue to be important because that’s the benchmark for trade to happen. But if you need to grow, it’s important to leverage the media brand across media platforms and so we need to know what’s happening across platforms. And that’s why we need to be open to the measurement of other metrics.”


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