Why monthly TV measurement data is a no-go

15 Jul,2013

 

By Johnson Napier

 

The move by a host of television networks who have subscribed to the arbitrary move of consuming data from TAM on a monthly basis is not boding well with those who put in the monies to fuel the broadcast business – the advertisers. Those that stand most affected by this move include the advertisers and a few media agency houses who have labelled this move as being confusing in nature. Where the world is shifting to sourcing data on real-time basis, moving to a monthly option seems to be redundant move, is the argument.

 

See alsoSam Balsara, Srinivasan K Swamy & Ashish Bhasin

 

As broadcasters brace themselves for the offensive from advertisers, MxMIndia quizzes a few top bosses to gather their POV. Many of those who we spoke to refused to go on record. Since most of them have similar views, we aren’t publishing them, except one leading FMCG marketer.

 

Mayank Shah, Group Product Manager, Parle Products

It’s surprising to see TAM imparting to data delivery on a monthly basis to certain broadcast networks. It isn’t the ideal way to be doing that because as marketers when we look at releasing campaigns there is a periodic assessment that we have to carry out whether it is for a period of one week or four weeks or more. Also, recency of data is another factor that is crucial to us marketers. We cannot rely on data that is almost a month old; the data will become almost outdated for us if were to sit to analyse the impact that our campaigns managed to create in the marketplace. In fact the advertisers have indeed reacted to this news and have expressed their disappointment on the same. Worldwide where most countries are turning to real-time data that is revealed largely on a daily basis, it is strange to be thinking of delivering data on a monthly basis. Even the weekly data that is being released is kind of late in a sense for us. If we do not see any consensus evolving from the industry and the various stakeholders on the issue soon, we would be forced to relook our spends on the medium of television, especially for players who have opted for data being revealed to them on a monthly basis. We will wait and assess the situation accordingly.

 

Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands (also Chairman of the BARC Technical Committee)

If you see the outcome of the decision, around 100-odd channels have opted for data to be released on a monthly basis. And the rest are still with the weekly set-up. Now we cannot be operating in an environment like this; there needs to be a unilateral measurement outcome that should be followed by all. Also, as is being observed the world over most countries are increasingly moving to collating data on a daily basis while we are moving the other way round. The solution can be found if all interested parties sit down and discuss. Till now there have been no concrete discussions as yet. So it’s a bit of an arbitrary situation to be in right now and one cannot say what will happen next.

 

In fact the way the decision was taken was very abrupt. Instead of just coming to a decision on their own they should have discussed the matter with all. As an industry body we tried to reach out to them to try and sort the matter. We even proposed a few solutions but they were not accepted. So there is a counter-action taking place right now as advertisers are not happy with this decision. What the clients are looking at right now is clarity and openness on the matter. It is up to the advertisers and broadcasters to sort the matter amicably.

 

CVL Srinivas, CEO, Group M South Asia

We see this as an extremely regressive development. India is one of the few markets where TV ratings are reported with a one week lag. Most other markets have daily ratings. In our view that is the direction we need to take. By moving to monthly rating, in one stroke we are making television as a medium less accountable to advertisers.

 

FMCG marketer, New Delhi

It’s not that we do not understand that there are some flaws with the current television measurement but we’ve survived it for over a decade, and none of the advertisers complain of having made wrong decisions due to incorrect ratings. I agree that broadcasters have been driven up the wall due to a bad market, digitization, LC1 and the 10+2 ad cap, but that doesn’t mean that they change the rules of the game when all of us have jointly decided to set up BARC and deliberate over a new measurement regime that will be effective in 2014. Broadcasters need to understand that just as they are facing hard times, we too don’t have excess money. Marketing heads are answerable to their CEOs/country heads who in turn have to answer to their boards in India or abroad. Monthly data is a no-go, even as we understand the importance of stable data.

 

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