The Anchor: 5 reasons media reach & measurability in India are different internationally

22 Oct,2012

By Jenish Shah


#1 South Asian channels are a niche segment. Regardless of the size of channels like Sony, Zee, Star, etc in the Indian markets, one has to remember that these channels cater to a very small base but extremely targeted audience of the South Asian diaspora worldwide.


#2 Niche channels do not rate accurately. In the same vein that Indian niche channels are currently hotly debating the rating mechanism in India (such as the NDTV vs TAM debate), ratings of South Asian channels on mainstream rating systems (Nielsen, Rentrack etc) do not throw accurate light on channel performance. For example, a channel like Fox News caters to almost the entire universe of 311 million people in the US. While a Hindi GEC like SET, Zee, STAR caters to the relatively small 2.83 million NRIs. It’s unfair to compare apples with oranges!


#3 Distribution is the accepted currency. In the absence of any industry accepted rating mechanism for South Asian channels, distribution of the channels (ie the number of DTH, cable, IPTV platforms they are present in) is the currently accepted method of gauging the strength of South Asian TV channels in the international markets.


#4 Subscription revenues. While in India, the revenue split for media houses of ad sales versus subscription revenues is typically 70:30 in favour of ad-sales, the reverse is true for the international markets. While we are still struggling to implement the digitization bill here, almost the entire TV universe in the international markets is digitized. Which makes distribution (and hence subscription) an important part of the equation in the international business.


#5 Moving beyond TV. International markets are more evolved in terms of internet penetration and hence avenues like Roku TV and Google TV have become an increasingly important part of content distribution. Just being present on TV is not enough – being present on any screen that the audience interacts with becomes a must!


Jenish Shah is VP International Sales, Prime Time India


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