MUMBAI: Ahead of the imminent launch of a new TV measurement body for India, the head of the current ratings supplier has spoken of the possible "shameful" behaviour of industry bodies in advising members which one to choose.

LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research, told Exchange4Media that if the AAAI and others had, as reported, sent an advisory to their members recommending they subscribe to the new BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) measurement studies and discontinue their current arrangements, that was "really unfortunate and very shameful".

And also rather insulting to those same members, he suggested, as "it means that you are saying [they] do not have the power of intelligence to judge or decide for themselves on what is right and what is wrong ... that too for a service that is being provided independently in the marketplace".

In any case, he argued that there was room for two or more bodies to co-exist. "If the product or service has a unique feature beneficial to the user, I don't see why a client will not buy it," he argued.

TAM, for example, was not present in rural India so a client would obviously look elsewhere for that data, "but if he requires information that is more concentrated on urban/metro market, he may probably decide on [the] TAM service".

Another benefit that TAM offered, he suggested, was its wealth of historical data that meant trends could be identified and tracked.

It's a very real issue for advertisers, as G K Suresh, vp/marketing, foods division at ITC, told Impact. "Marrying the new [BARC] classification with the old and what implications it has for our media plans – how do I maintain continuity of looking at data – that's going to be a nightmare."

For the future, Krishnan said that simple TV audience measurement was "passé", as users were more interested in multiple screen usage and how TV is being used with other kinds of media.  

He added that TAM no longer viewed the advertising market in national terms and intended to move to "geo-focus measurement", enabled by technical developments in broadcasting.

Technology is also a major driver of the measurement improvements that BARC is claiming in terms of accuracy and user friendliness.

Data sourced from Exchange4Media, Impact; additional content by Warc staff