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Difficult To Overlook aMap

Joseph Eapen CEO, aMap

“Monitoring/evaluating ROI on a daily basis is a life saver for the advertiser. It is becoming more and more difficult to overlook aMap” says Joseph Eapen, CEO, aMap, in an interview to Rajat Arora of BestMediaInfo.com.

Q) Does aMap represents India enough with around 6000 Metered Homes?

First of all, we have 6000 C&S homes and 1500 DTH metered homes. These metered homes represent the 1 lakh+ CS markets and 10 lakh+ (1-10 lakh HSM) DTH markets in India. It surely does not represent the smaller towns.

Q) Is it true that the industry uses aMap data only for analysis? When it comes to planning and using the data as currency, TAM is the only thing. What will it take to change this perception?

This perception is changing rapidly. Many of our clients are planners and use aMap data extensively for planning and schedule optimization. Especially with so many new launches, high-octane events/cricket, the planners benefit from the overnight dimension – monitoring/evaluating ROI on a daily basis is a life saver for the advertiser. It is becoming more and more difficult to overlook aMap.

Q) Currently, even TAM Media also offers DTH measurement data but various DTH players feel the aMap data will help them better with their interactive services as the results will be instant. Isn’t an overwhelming response for you?

We indeed got an overwhelming response because our proprietary content-matching technology allows measuring viewership and interactive engagement for each service provider. We also report time-shifted viewing. (Recording and Viewing later)

Q) How do you see the change in viewership pattern of Indian audience?

Growth of DTH is mimicking the telecom sector. The exodus is inevitable. Unlike the C&S space, DTH viewers can pick-up a bouquet that suits them and the ala-carte add-ons is icing on the cake. Time spend on watching TV is higher in DTH homes.EPG, favorites, fixed channel position, same quality across all channels are aiding the experience. The other day, I was with the reliance DTH team; their set-to-box automatically compiles the list of favorite channels based on the families viewing history. Can it get any better… guess sky isn’t the limit in DTH.

Q) TAM Media is the undisputed leader in the business of television ratings. On the other hand, Has aMap been able to gain much stranglehold in this off screen TRP war?

We are doing everything necessary to provide a transparent and impeccable measurement service. We are very happy with the progress we are making. The broadcast industry has been exceptionally supportive.

Q) What about your partnership with Eurodata TV Worldwide, has it given you competitive edge over TAM?

The Eurodata partnership has put aMap on the world map, our revenues from international sales has been significant. Most of all, we get to see viewership data from 90 countries through this alliance. The wealth of information we have access to, is phenomenal.

Q) Viewership measuring tools have always been facing the allegation that their data is not fully reliable. How would you defend this?

I think most of it is misunderstanding. Like in the first question here, you asked - do we represent India? Do the numbers we (aMap or competition) issue represent the Indian viewing habits? Is the sample size enough?

Once it is understood that the numbers reflect the viewing habits of the MARKETS it represents, then most of the allegations and misunderstanding are gone. The sample size is enough for the MARKETS we represent and is very much within the tolerance allowed - the margin of error. Also, when you understand the technology employed, you will start respecting the measurement service.

Q) Are their any flaws in traditional TV audience measurement systems?

Traditional methods like day-after recall interviews and diaries have their own limitations; the shear no. of channels makes these traditional methods archaic. Current state-of-art electronic metering is the appropriate system to cope with the dynamics of the television environment.

Q) We have heard that aMap is superior in technology and is future-proof…

Yes, since we use a format-independent content matching system, we can survive any challenge/advancement in broadcast technology. As long as television is all about ‘seeing and hearing’, our meter can identify what is being watched.

Secondly, our DTH ratings are real-time. Ratings are available within an hour of broadcast. We call it live-terminals, you can have these terminals in your office, and it shows the viewing curve (ratings) as it happens, with a one hour delay. Imagine knowing the ratings of IPL final before the prize ceremony is over.

We have presented it to industry stalwarts, now we will be showing it to the parliamentary committee. We are trying to make ‘live-terminal’ a norm in the measurement industry - akin to the stock market terminals.

And last but not the least; we have a barcode module in the meters, allowing us to upgrade these homes into a purchase panel (consumer panel). This is the future, linking ‘advertisements watched’ to actual ‘purchases’. It closes the loop.

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