Jasmin Sohrabji, Man Jit Singh & Alok Bharadwaj April 29, 2013 Last Updated at 00:06 IST

Wider sample base, more transparency needed
Television is the second largest advertising medium in the country - more that Rs 13 000 crore rode on it last year - and ratings data is the measure o! accounting !or the industry" #s the $roadcast #udience Research %ouncil the audience research measurement &ody !ormed &y &roadcasters advertisers and advertising agencies gets ready to put in place a ne' television measurement mechanism ne(t year 'e as) the various sta)eholders 'hat they e(pect !rom the revamped system and the !eatures they 'ould li)e included to ma)e it a more ro&ust currency than the current one *iven that audience measurement systems don+t operate 'ith unlimited resources the call here is not really !or a 'ish-list &ut more !or managing e(pectations o! various sta)eholders and eventually to have a system that 'ill do the ,o& 'ell" -espite the ever-changing media landscape television continues to &e a mainstay medium and an e!!icient audience measurement system 'ill al'ays &e integral to success!ully e(ecute our communication plans" #mong the many things that ma)e !or an e!!icient audience measurement system the !irst is the issue o! representation" The Indian television scenario has undergone many changes and 'ill continue to do so" #s media agencies and mar)eters 'e 'elcome this dynamism and in !act thrive on it" .e 'holeheartedly em&race the vast range o! vie'ing options ha&its and genres that e(ist today on Indian television" To ensure 'e have reached out e!!ectively and meted out ,ustice to our sta)eholders an ideal audience measurement system should &e one that is &oth representative and inclusive demographically and geographically" Simply put 'e do not 'ant our young planners and &uyers to &e pre-conditioned &y the television ratings they see/ 'e 'ould li)e the measurement system to &e ro&ust and representative enough to capture any evolving vie'er dynamic" This is not ,ust a&out television - and channel - per!ormance &ut it is really a&out us/ &eing al'ays armed 'ith data that 0uestions 'hat 'e thin) 'e )no' and challenges the status 0uo" I have &een using research long enough to appreciate that no system 'ill e(plain the presumed inconsistencies and gut !eeling that 'e may have a&out trends on television vie'ing" There!ore !or me a second )ey criterion is the availa&ility o! - and access to - the e(perienced research minds associated 'ith the audience measurement system provider/ they 'ould not ,ust help put to rest our concerns &ut also &e the 'atchdogs !or a &etter tomorro'" #udience measurement systems provide a universal currency and as such tend to operate in monopolistic conditions" There is there!ore an enhanced need !or sel!-vigilance and an ever-evolving ever-0uestioning process that ,usti!ies its stature as the industry &enchmar)" This &rings me to the last &ut &y no means the least relevant criterion - transparency" This 'ould mean the process o! chec)s and controls that are regularly revie'ed and re!ined &y the industry to ensure that all the sta)eholders are committed to the system" #ll )inds o! research have their limitations &ut it is o! utmost importance that 'e )eep the !aith" There is no su&stitute !or e!!icient measurement/ 'e don+t ,ust 'ant it 'e need it" # !inal point o! vie': #udience measurement systems have a lot more to o!!er than ,ust 'ee)ly ratings"

much li)e a democracy that !inds it tough to maintain the separation o! its legislature e(ecutive and .o&s 'ith no correlation &et'een them" 2ther'ise !udging and stretching o! the data !rom the coveted &lac) &o( is unavoida&le" The o&.ust to any changes in T7 vie'ership" .ections" 2nly then the sanctity and clarity o! the statistics 'ill &e guaranteed" The second most crucial aspect to ma)e audience measurement systems more !air and ro&ust is introducing separate teams !or various processes that eventually give us the data" 3a)e no mista)e" Separating the processes o! installation o! the &o(es collection o! the data captured and a thorough analysis o! the data is vital !or a ro&ust audience measurement system" 8o' then can the same team per!orm all the three tas)s.udiciary" $ut it simply has to &e done" %ompromising on this step could .ust su&tle &ut some very o&vious lapses" .hen the current audience research system 'hich the industry uses sho's I4L ratings that are lo'er than last year+s despite indications to the contrary a su&scri&er is &ound to 0uestion its veracity" It gives a misleading picture to advertisers and also to us" #!ter all 'hen ta)ing a call on &uying rights to programmes to air 'e assess past ratings as 'ell" The !irst &iggest dra'&ac) is the sample si5e" # small sample si5e 'hich 'e have seen in the present system ma)es the entire e(trapolation 'ea)" 6or a country li)e India 'ith its many nuances such as ca&le-dar) areas single T7 per households di!!erent social strata present in the same neigh&ourhood capturing a cross-section is a challenge" In particular in the current system the underlying esta&lishment study is not transparent" 8ence 'e usually have no idea on the di!!erences that get captured" # large and 'ell-chosen sample si5e 'ill ma)e such measurement more representative and !ar more accurate" The sample si5e needs to &e a&out three times that o! the current sample and that 'ill mean covering at least 90 000 to 9: 000 households" The placement o! the &o(es must &e done in households 'hich are chosen scienti!ically since they 'ill &e the &asis o! the pro. Separate teams should ta)e up these three .e cannot a!!ord plans that 'ould ta)e a 'ee) to &e t'ea)ed or 'hich 'ill &ear !ruit only in a month+s time" #!ter all 'e spend >0 per cent o! our a&ove-the-line media &udget on T7" 8ence our interest in T7 vie'ership measurements is su&stantial" #s a $9% advertiser one o! the !irst criteria !or a ro&ust T7 audience measurement currency is that it is representative o! a 'ide cross-section o! the vie'ership" ?eeping the Indian T7 vie'er in mind 'e need to have !air integration o! true &ehaviour o! audiences !rom the lo'er tier to'ns too" .eopardise the credi&ility o! the data that !inally reaches the sta)eholders" The third measure has to &e on-ground monitoring" The current system claims to do so &ut the end results sho' that there is a severe disconnect &et'een the ground reality and 'hat the system claims" # more stringent on-ground monitoring 'ill ensure the &o(es are secure in that they are not tampered 'ith lie idle or randomly shi!ted else'here" # large sample si5e 'ill prevent this and help monitoring" The need o! the hour is to maintain the integrity o! the data" This 'ay the validity o! the data 'ill also go up" $#R% 'ill ensure that an active monitoring programme is in place to prevent tampering" Man Jit Singh %12 3ulti Screen 3edia 4vt Ltd = 4resident Indian $roadcasting 6oundation 6or advertisers o'ning &rands in the &usiness-to-consumer space it is very important to dra' up a media plan that is dynamic" %anon is one o! them and 'e need our media plans to &e a&le to s'i!tly ad.e 'ill not &e content 'ith narro' measurement restricted to vie'ership in metros only" India &eing so diverse the sample needs to &e representative o! our consumptions" #ccurate relevant and meaning!ul .ectivity o! the entire system su!!ers" This +separation+ 'ill &ring in more chec)s and &alances" <es this step 'ill &e di!!icult to implement .The system is a treasure trove o! insights !or &rand and channel planning" Let its e(istence &e optimised mani!old/ let us spend more 0uality time in here" Jasmin Sohrabji %12 2mnicom 3edia *roup #s a &roadcaster and distri&utor my primary concern 'ith audience research measurements today is that the data is suspect" The credi&ility is lo' made evident &y not .

ective &ut nonetheless much needed in T7 audience measurement systems" .ith a !ragmented T7 vie'ership universe it is time to have a 'hole ne' measurement !or it" Alok Bharadwaj 1(ecutive 7ice-4resident %anon .ust S1% # and $ &ut also % !or e(ample 'ill &e more representative and use!ul to us" It is !oolhardy to paint Indian T7 audiences 'ith a homogeneous &rush" The second criteria is perhaps more su&.ith that )ind o! a sum I &etter )no' the e!!ectiveness o! the allocation I do daily rather than have a 'ee)ly snapshot" This 'ould need us to &e on our !eet to change a 'hole media plan in a 'ee)+s time 'ith trac)ing on a daily &asis" 8o'ever !or this to yield results our media &uying patterns should also change rather than .hile other media have remained more or less same in their audience patterns T7 is increasingly sho'ing 'ide variations in vie'ership trends 'ith digitisation in place" 3oreover !or &rands 'hich tal) to the youth T7 vie'ership has &ecome even more comple(" Technology has ensured that the youth consumes media !rom t'o di!!erent screens even as they 'atch T7" There might &e a programme on &ut they 'ill also &e &usy on their handheld mo&ile devices" The measurements should re!lect this change" The third thing I !eel a great need !or in T7 audience measurement systems is the e0ual need !or speed as !or accuracy" *ranted that surgical precision in such measurements is something 'e should aspire !or" $ut e0ually important is the need !or real-time updates" In si( 'ee)s i! 'e end up spending Rs 10 crore then that 'ould mean our media plan spends no less than Rs 9 la)h per day" .ust audience measurement" #dvertisers could &uy a &asic pac) o! spots !rom channels say general entertainment and then top up spot purchase depending on the daily !luctuations as evidenced &y a more ro&ust audience measurement system" The clients need to rethin) and get their agencies aligned !or this to happen" .audience measurement instrument should provide a 'indo' to the patterns in smaller to'ns across regions and even across the di!!erent strata in a given location" # sample dra'n !rom not .

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