Paritosh Joshi: 10 minutes ≠ 10 minutes

09 Aug,2012

By Paritosh Joshi


“This time he has surely lost it”. “OK, I’m outta here”. “Back button”. Yes, I can see why my patient readers might one, or even all, of these reactions upon seeing the title of this week’s ramblings. And who could fault them. Those who have survived thus far, I beseech your indulgence for, let’s say, 10 minutes and it shall soon be clear.


One of the most cited metrics of any medium is ‘Time Spent’. Newspapers boast about it. TV stations crow themselves hoarse over it. Even outdoor signage locations, hoarding sites for instance, invoke frequent traffic jams at a particular location as its virtuous attribute- after all it increases ‘Time Spent’.


Unfortunately, not all 10 minutes are equal. A 10-minute journey interruption at Mahim Causeway is malodorous misery. A 10-minute gridlock at Red Road running through Calcutta’s much celebrated Maidan, on the other hand, is an opportunity to deep dive into the heart and mind of India’s oldest metropolis. The first would be marked by frayed tempers and terminally, perhaps irreparably damaged olfactory sensors. The latter would conceivably result in new knowledge about: the human condition, the mythic status accorded to Football in Calcutta and Indian Marxism.


I get two business newspapers. I spend 10 minutes flipping the pages to pick up stories that will probably feature in the day’s conversations. Then I pick up the other one and go to the Edit and Op-Ed pages where I expect to, and always do find, thought pieces that will provide real grist to the intellectual mill. This too lasts 10 minutes but the two are of materially different character.


Unfortunately, our audience measurement systems, no matter which medium they address, focus primarily on weight and very little on quality of engagement. This is hardly unique and not good reason to beat up on the systems or their providers, however. This is how they were all designed historically and the legacy isn’t easy to shake off.


This is a short piece so I won’t get into much detail today but more will follow on what such systems might look like.


Paritosh Joshi was until recently CEO, Star CJ. He has been a marketer, a mediaperson and on the Board/committees of various industry bodies. He can reached via his Twitter handle @paritoshZero



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One response to “Paritosh Joshi: 10 minutes ≠ 10 minutes”

  1. Himanshu says:

    Yes as a metric TS is too hollow…but as you pointed out about the engagement behaviour, it clears certain pixels before the image is rendered. However what you are saying is true for any metric, be it financial ratios or media KPIs. Thats why metrices are used in conjunction with one another.