afaqs! caught up with stakeholders to know the viability of monthly data by TAM.
TAM has occupied news headlines for more than a few months now - not always for good reasons, either! While it has constantly been surrounded by controversies over transparency and authenticity, the current issue could bring a significant change in the way the only television ratings system in the country works.
What triggered this is the move by a few broadcasters to unsubscribe the TAM data. This opened the possibility of leaving the industry in a state of uncertainty, without any currency on which advertising deals for television could be based. While the stakeholders - Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) - have been discussing about the possible solutions, there are rumours doing the rounds that the TAM data come out on monthly basis. It is also being said that instead of cost per ratings point (CPRP), there could be implementation/adoption of cost per thousand (CPT) as a stronger basis for TV ad sales.
afaqs! caught up with the stakeholders to know the viability of monthly data by TAM. While agency stalwarts seem against the move, broadcasters and advertisers offer an entirely different perspective.
I don't think monthly release of ratings will work. It needs to be carefully thought through. If we think practically, there are many properties like sports that don't last for long. Also, there is short time-frame planning that is going on in the industry and monthly data will not be sufficient for it. It is a significant challenge and it will be a matter of concern for some of these channels.
Ashish Bhasin, chairman, India and CEO, Southeast Asia, Aegis Group
Monthly data of TAM is not a viable option for the industry. There are events for which we cannot rely on monthly data. It's too long a period in today's day and age. While the other countries are working on real-time data, wherein you get data for a day before and work accordingly, India has been working on weekly data and if it converts to monthly, it will be a step backward for us.
At the same time, I feel that both CPT and CPRP should co-exist in the way we work.
Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, licensing and telephony, Multi Screen Media
It doesn't make a difference if we get monthly ratings because the deals are done on longer terms. In fact, it will be good if we get monthly ratings as there will be some consistency in the viewership that we will be able to see. This will bring sanity into the business and one will be able to tap trends over a month. It will be a more reliable data. If a channel rises to No. 1 just because of one of its shows, or because movies worked really very well, it doesn't mean it's a No. 1 channel. It will help the industry as it will take the sword of Thursday ratings away.
Also, in case of movies, after the movie is aired one cannot do much even if you get the weekly ratings. By and large, we fall back on the past data when we do any kind of deal for any property. It will be good if CPT comes into place because IBF has been advocating it for years. It's the method being followed globally and the earlier it happens in India, the better.
Ashish Sehgal, chief sales officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd
The industry can definitely work on monthly data. Broadcasters get weekly data but the print industry works on IRS data that takes months to come and they have been working on it for years. We all were working even in the absence of data during the Phase I digitisation blackout of nine weeks. Then, why not?
The monthly data will also give the programmers breathing space as they will be able to concentrate on the content rather than think of the twists and turns needed in the storyline in order to increase ratings every week. So, the content will improve and over a period of time, the show's story will pick up.
About the sports properties, we sell the properties based on the past data anyway. Also, cricket sells more on the buzz it generates than the gross rating points it gets.
Talking about CPRP and CPT, CPT gives the right number of people we are reaching out to. CPRP does not make sense now because if the base is increasing, the ratings will repress. In the long term, CPT is beneficial.
Kamal Basu, head, marketing, Skoda
If TAM goes monthly, we will look at the monthly data and see if it supports our requirements. TAM helps us in evaluating our media plan and, hence, if it adheres to our requirements, it's fine. Also, it will depend on the format of the monthly ratings. It might give weekly learning data and performance, too. So, in that case, a lag should not be much of an issue.