BARC-TAM deal: Win-win for all

27 Aug,2015

 

By A Correspondent

 

The evening was organised to celebrate GroupM’s continuing dominance in the country, but there were just two things that were being discussed in not-very-hushed tones at a cocktails hosted by Mark Patterson, APAC CEO of the media services giant.

 

The first was the INX Media founder Indrani Mukerjea with whom many of adland’s swish set had a muah-muah relationship, and the second was of course something that’s virtually as big a story as a Coca-Cola buying over Thums Up in the 1990s. That BARC has got TAM out of the audience measurement business in India in the form that it has been doing. And not just TAM, but even if it’s co-owners the WPP-owned Kantar Media and Nielsen.

 

For BARC, it’s a huge win.

1. It ramps up current meter strength of 22,000 to 34,000

2. It kills a huge competitor in TAM

3. Subscribers – channels and media agencies – will now not be able to compare the two systems, as TAM will cease to exist in the audience measurement space

4. Having been around for a while, the TAM system is a well-oiled machinery

5. It’s a no cash deal. Earlier, it was rumoured that TAM wanted Rs 70-odd crore for selling out completely. Now, it emerges that BARC is not paying any dosh upfront. But it needs to share 49 per cent of the spoils on the sourcing of the raw data, which may get diluted as BARC’s boxes increase if Nielsen-Kantar don’t invest more monies

 

For TAM, it’s not a bad deal

1. It’s an honourable exit

2. Agreed it’s not going to make money upfront, but the 49 per cent (as against Rs 70crore upfront) isn’t a bad sum. The 49 per cent may get diluted to 25-odd per cent if its joint owners don’t put in any more money to grow the number of meters to 50,000

 

What’s not been spoken about

1. The announcement is following the signing of the term sheet. It’s going to take a minimum of three to four months for things to really happen. Until then it’s business as usual

2. There are some 900-950 people in the PeopleMeter business. While a lot of them will be absorbed in some way by the new company, there may be some who will not be

 

And the million dollar question

What happens to LV Krishnan?

 

The new truncated TAM Media is too small an operation for someone like LV Krishnan to run.  For, even though he’s young too be called that, but he’s surely the Father of TV Audience Measurement in India though of course some folks like Praveen Tripathi etc were around in the early days (and is now associated with BARC). From what we heard earlier, LV will help in the transition and get absorbed in the Kantar-WPP fold. Or he may well be hired by a broadcaster to help interpret numbers. Or he may set up his own consultancy.

 

What we do know about LV is that he is not just a fighter, he’s got the endurance. From a record 56 push-ups at MCA Club in Bandra, to loooooong meetings with stakeholders, you’ve got to acknowledge that he is – as of today – the best in the business. He can tire you down, but he seldom gets tired of work.

 

Back to the GroupM party, it’s ironical that the discussion and the clinking of glasses to celebrate the announcement happened for an organisation which reportedly batted much for TAM in the BARC boardrooms in the early days. Interestingly though it’s after sibling GroupM unsubscribed from TAM that people said BARC has arrived.

 

PS: MxMIndia has been at the forefront of the coverage on the measurement business. Some of the best interviews given by all stakeholders have been published by us at MxMIndia, including the tearjerker of an interview of LV Krishnan that appeared a day before BARC ratings were launched. We will continue in our coverage. Accurate and fair. Keep the faith!

 

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