Prachi Srivastava

AAAI opposes "unilateral action to change the measurement system"

CVL Srinivas of the Advertising Agencies Association of India says that this will have "a negative impact on the television ad spend".

The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) is unhappy with the move by major broadcasters to receive only monthly viewership data from the monitoring agency, TAM. The existing weekly system of viewership data has been put aside following a request to TAM by leading broadcasters. AAAI described the step as "regressive".

AAAI opposes "unilateral action to change the measurement system"
CVL Srinivas, South Asia CEO of Group M and a member of AAAI's executive committee, told afaqs!, "Any changes that need to be made in the measurement system should be well thought through and evaluated by all the stakeholders. Any unilateral action to change the system will be detrimental to the industry. Any decision that has to be taken needs to be referred to a joint industry body."

Srinivas said that "advertisers and media agencies need ratings for media planning and buying. When the whole world is moving to daily ratings, it will be a regressive step if India moves to a monthly system. It will have negative impact on the television ad spend," he warned.

Srinivas represented the AAAI in a meeting held on July 10 in Mumbai between some of the key stakeholders of the industry. The Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) was represented by its president, Hemant Bakshi. The course of action is still being discussed between the advertisers and their agencies.

The broadcast networks that have requested TAM to release monthly data for them are Star India, Zee, Multi Screen Media, Network18 and Prism (Eenadu), while the three news networks are Times Television, NDTV group and BAG.

The tug of war will continue for some time with AAAI and ISA preferring the existing system and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) seeking to change it. The current confrontation began when major broadcasters threatened to unsubscribe from TAM in the middle of last month. Then, too, AAI and ISA had come out in support of TAM.

However, about 80 per cent of TAM's subscription revenue comes from broadcasters, the rest from agencies - so it is not hard to guess who packs more clout. Curiously, advertisers do not directly contribute to TAM but leave it to their agencies who cough up only Rs 10-15 crore of TAM's revenue of Rs 60-70 crore.

This has been a summer of confrontation. In May, broadcasters had clashed with media agencies after tax issues cropped up with regard to the existing billing system. The networks wanted media agencies to raise bills for only the net amount as against the gross amount, as has been the system so far.

Broadcasters, traditionally used to bowing to media agencies, are acting with a new-found confidence. Forecast for the rest of 2013: skirmishes will continue.

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