India's TV crisis deepens

17 June 2013
MUMBAI: Two more television networks, TV18 and Star India, have joined the growing number of broadcasters that have withdrawn their subscriptions to TAM, India's TV ratings body.

The afaqs portal noted that this was the first time large general entertainment channels had become involved in the quarrel. Neither of these two had previously complained publicly about TAM's methodology or sampling inadequacy.

The Advertising Agencies' Association of India (AAAI) and Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) have said that they will continue to use TAM data, but as more channels drop out the two sides seem further than ever from resolving the dispute.

The exchange4media portal talked to media planners and industry experts to get their assessment of the situation.

The general feeling was that the two sides were talking different languages, with TAM assuming it was doing everything correctly while the broadcasters declined to publicly elaborate on their issues.

The experts said there was a genuine problem of ratings disparity that needed to be addressed in a mature fashion by both sides. One senior media planner acknowledged that TAM had to be rigid in its approach, which might appear unduly stern, or even arrogant, but argued that it should "openly bring the genuine issues of the broadcasters to the table for discussions".

Another media planner noted that the industry could ill afford another slowdown and said that "channels should rise above their personal agenda and work towards the betterment of the entire industry".

An observation that the broadcasters who had a problem with TAM were the ones whose ratings had gone down, indicated a degree of self-interest. "The job of TAM is to provide genuine viewership figures to the industry and not suggest how viewership of a channel can increase," remarked the chief executive of a Delhi media agency.

All agreed that the way forward was a working party involving both sides which would address the various concerns and resolve the issues.

Data sourced from afaqs, exchange4media; additional content by Warc staff
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