rolled out data on digital homes and will now be equipped to capture penetration and trends of digital households (households having access to cable or direct to home services).
TAM released its first digital television audience measurement data on Tuesday. From now on, the television industry will be able to access data on digital homes exclusively, along with the weekly data on analogue homes released regularly by TAM.
This comes in the wake of the increasing penetration of digital in Indian homes. Out of the total number of homes that own a television set, digital penetration is expected to be about 7 per cent, which implies nine million homes by the end of 2008. The growth has been recorded across both urban and rural markets.
This upgrade by the Indian consumer has been facilitated by the many benefits of digital, such as better picture and sound quality, increased number of channels and freedom of choice to view preferred content. This was revealed in a study conducted by TAM.
The study also pointed out the drawbacks of digital. In an official communiqué, LV Krishnan, chief executive officer, TAM Media Research, says, "Areas such as high pricing of both individual and bouquet channels, lack of knowhow of value added services and slow service were some of the common complaints of consumers."
TAM is also gearing up to measure the other new platform, IPTV, on computer, television and mobile. While the TVM5 peoplemeter device will be used for the former, TAM is in talks with Nielsen for the latter.
Industry representatives consider this a big move forward. Paritosh Joshi, president, ad sales and distribution, STAR India, says that this was inevitable. "STAR was the first to dedicate a distribution team specifically for digital because we believe that digital is where the future is," he says, and adds that issues such as addressability and choice will be solved with this.
Peter Mukerjea, chairman and chief strategy officer, INX Media, believes that since digital has come in, broadcasters and advertisers can now look at monetising households. He says, "The whole business is about monetising. According to PWC, the number of digital households will reach 12-15 million in a year and that is a huge opportunity for brands to ride on."
TAM is also toying with the idea of using set-top box return path data (RPD) as a way to measure the diverse Indian market, complementing the peoplemeter data. The RPD tool is cheaper to use than the peoplemeter. It is functional in markets such as the US. However, it has a few flaws, so it will be a while before TAM launches it in India.