Double standards bring peace

By Prachi Srivastava & Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 26, 2013
The three bodies AAAI, ISA and IBF agree that in addition to the television rating points, the absolute number of viewers will also be considered; which is what broadcasters wanted in the first place.

Ending more than two weeks of tension, the three key industry bodies - Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) have agreed on two optional methods on which television buying and selling will happen.

Arvind Sharma

TAM's percentage TVR (Television Rating Point) has been the standard on which television planning and buying has taken place in the television industry till now. While it will continue to exist, the addition is that the broadcasters, agencies and advertisers have also openly accepted TVT, which is viewership in thousands and have agreed to work on that, too. However, the choice of the metric and final deals will still depend on the individual broadcaster, agency and advertiser for the respective deal.

Arvind Sharma, AAAI president, says, "Agencies, depending on their clients' business needs, follow a variety of buying approaches today and that will continue. There cannot be an agreement that buying will happen on one particular metric. And, it is not correct for associations to decide how negotiations between an individual channel, agency and advertiser will be conducted. A good audience measurement system is one that makes data available to all the three constituents based on what they need and make it as dependable as possible."

"For large advertisers, planning and buying are linked. In their planning and post evaluation models, weekly percentage TVR is generally a key metric. So from their point of view it was important that this data continue to be available. We are happy that we have been able to arrive at this agreement," Sharma adds.

There is also an option of doing the deals on the basis of rolling average TVT for four weeks, which will again be available every week to the stakeholders. This addresses the complaint of smaller or niche channels which fared miserably with tiny TVRs: the figures in thousands will be more realistic. Besides, a rolling average will ensure that the frequent spikes and dips they witnessed because of a small sample size, will get ironed out.

The solution as of now looks like a win-win for all stakeholders. While the weekly percentage TVRs will be available, the agencies and advertisers will also be able to evaluate how many people saw their ads and their reach. Meanwhile, the broadcasters will also have the liberty to consider viewership in thousands while doing the deals.

Man Jit Singh

Praveen Kulkarni

Mona Jain

The truce provides relief to TAM which was being pulled apart by the varying demands of the three bodies which wouldn't see eye to eye. Result: TAM was the punching bag. No wonder, in a statement, a relieved TAM pointedly said that it was "happy to receive a common brief from the three stakeholders".

Man Jit Singh, president, IBF, says, "Different people will have different takes on the issue. We believe that CPT is the right currency to use because it shows the growth in universe and the growth in TV viewing. So from our perspective, the right measure to use, going forward will be the CPT model. Now, for some time, there will be confusions and people will end up using either of the two measures or different combinations of the two. The issue was that we wanted CPT to become the public currency. So we believe that we have taken a big step forward to make that the norm. CPRP was continuously shrinking the universe size."

Singh adds that "All major multinationals, whenever they are doing their reviews, end up using CPT. We think that CPT is a more progressive measure. Earlier we were talking about TVR in percentage, now we will be talking in thousands. Whoever buys TAM reports can get either or both the data. The focus is shifted to CPT, which otherwise was never looked at. We are trying to bring the industry's focus to CPT. Even if the TVRs are available with the broadcasters, all major broadcasters have agreed that all public releases will not be in percentages, but in thousands. But ultimately, we expect that CPT will be in practice."

Everybody is seeing the agreement in the manner convenient to them. Praveen Kulkarni, general manager, marketing, Parle Products tells afaqs!, "They have reverted to the old system of TVR percentage and the weekly data, that's what they have agreed upon. The TVRs are available to the advertisers and we can take decisions based on the TRP data (in percentages)."

Mona Jain, CEO, VivaKi Exchange, too adds, "Nothing has changed. Everything is the same, the ratings are coming in and the selling will again happen on the basis of CPRP. It depends on how the buyer wants to approach it. You can also look at the CPT of the previous year as a benchmark, so, there are ways and means of using the data. The externally available data will be more cautiously distributed now because people don't understand the data well and they may not use it the right way."

With this, TAM data from now onwards will be available in three ways. One will be an official industry software called Media Xpress Platinum and second along with two customised/optional software called Media Xpress Gold and Media Xpress Silver.

With immediate effect, TAM will provide the original Media Xpress software (reporting TVR per cent/GRP per cent) for use till August 8, 2013. By August 8, if the client wishes to use any one of the two optional versions (Gold/Silver), TAM would require an NDA signed from the client's end covering the terms of use. By the end of August/first week of September, Media Xpress will be replaced by Media Xpress Platinum.

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