New Delhi: A Delhi-based media think-tank, Centre for Media Studies (CMS), has suggested that India’s telecom regulator, Trai, look into the rating of television channels and programmes.
Broadcasters and advertisers alike have maintained that current audience measurement systems are inadequate. CMS reasoned that since audience measurement impacts broadcasters, viewers, and advertisers, it needed to be regulated by an independent body. It said the current television audience measurement systems do not reflect the ground reality, nor, it added, are they capable of dealing with new distribution platforms such as DTH, CAS and IPTV.
CMS held a conference in Delhi on 6 March, which was attended by the two leading audience measurement agencies in the country—TAM Media Research and Audience Measurement and Analytics (aMap)—as well as some broadcasters.
The broadcast industry and advertisers have been debating the issue of inadequacy of the peoplemeter system to gauge diverse viewership patterns in the country of around 108 million television households for quite sometime now, but no viable solution has come to the fore yet. “We have to look at the emerging technologies and assess the impact they have on viewership and subsequently on the broadcast business in the country,” said N. Bhaskara Rao, chairman, CMS. TAM tracks viewership through peoplemeters installed in 7,000 households and AMap, through those installed in around 6,000 homes.
TAM and aMap said they were expanding their base of sample households and using new technology to address the changing media scenario.
“Despite the complexity of the Indian market, broadcasters here have a better understanding of their audience than their international counterparts” said L.V. Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, referring to the quality of audience tracking in the country. “When TV channels are not doing well, they blame it on rating systems. The industry needs some moderation on the issue,” added Raviratan Arora, managing director, aMap.
CMS said it will take its pitch to Trai. Some broadcasters think that would be a good idea. “Regulation will help,” said a representative from NDTV who did not wish to be identified.