WPP's Kantar Media reacts to the new TV ratings guidelines

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 21, 2014
The company has run advertisements in newspapers stating its concern over the TV ratings guidelines that have recently been notified by MIB.

Kantar Media, a 50 per cent shareholder in TAM, has finally spoken out on the Indian television ratings guidelines which were recently notified by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Kantar Media

Kantar Ad

The WPP company has run advertisements in various newspapers stating that TAM was formed 15 years ago at the request of the Indian advertisers, advertising agencies and broadcasters. They had suggested that Kantar and Nielsen (the other 50 per cent shareholder in TAM) come together to form a joint research company to provide measurement data, using their global expertise and technology. Together, Kantar and Nielsen provide TAM services in about 70 countries across the world.

The ad also mentioned that currently, TAM covers a panel of 35,000 individuals in 225 cities through 9,600 people meters, making India one of the largest TAM panels globally. TAM, in consultation with the industry, is on course to achieve its target of 20,000 + meters.

As per the company, TAM and its shareholders have invested over Rs 150 crore in increasing the panel base and improving the technology and infrastructure and the investment continues even today.

One of the main concerns raised by Kantar Media was that the guidelines on cross holding ownership would leave the entire industry without ratings for the most of 2014 and it will be a situation that no one who really cares about the media industry in India could possibly tolerate.

Besides, according to Kantar Media, no other market in which cross ownership exists, such as the UK, France and Spain, has imposed such restrictions on cross ownership between market research agencies like TAM, and ad agencies. The company said that restricting Kantar and its associates from ownership of a meaningful stake in a rating agency will deprive India of one of the leading global players in this area. It is and would be impossible with the ownership structure and the scrutiny of all stakeholders - broadcasters, agencies and advertisers - for any one stakeholder to influence the TAM ratings that are produced by the system, nor would there be an incentive to do so.

The background rolls back to the notification of TV guidelines by MIB on January 16 that says no promoter of a rating agency can own more than 10 per cent share in either an ad agency or a broadcaster. This clause presumably deals with issues pertaining to conflict of interest. Since WPP owns Kantar -- that jointly owns TAM, with Nielsen as well as several ad agencies, this guideline would go against TAM, unless its stake is diluted within 30 days (from the day the guidelines were notified by MIB).

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