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FICCI Frames 2014: Media’s love-hate relationship with measurements

Panel discuss TVTs, readership and how digital is affecting each of these

Sohini Sen | Mumbai | March 18, 2014

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It is often said that a TV channel would go to any length to increase viewership. And the weekly war for ratings has given rise to many a debate in recent years. FICCI Frames address the issue on its final day, Friday, March 14, through a session titled ‘Measurement Miasma, TVTs, Readerships, Clicks and Such: The great love/hate epic’.

The panel discussed how audience measurement is done and what makes it successful or controversial. They also spoke on the designing of a measurement system and how joint industry bodies can facilitate the governance of audience measurement systems.

The panel comprised Sanjay Tripathy, Sr. Executive VP, HDFC Life; Prashant Panday, Executive Director & CEO, ENIL; Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC, and Punitha Arumugam, Director, Agency Business, Google India. The session, chaired by Provocateur Advisory's Principal, Paritosh Joshi, went into the challenges the industry faces in creating a proper and effective measurement system and suggested ideas for building the country's future measurement systems.

Joshi started the discussion with the observation that media owners seldom like measurements. This was contradicted by Prashant Panday of Radio Mirchi (ENIL) who felt that media owners would like ratings and measurements if they were credible and reliable. He gave an example of how different researches showed different numbers for listeners of radio in Delhi.

Sanjay Tripathy's view was that there were numerous ways of reaching customers. Sometimes what brands do is find the cheapest way. But, according to him, the cheapest may not be the most suitable for the organisation.

Panday further spoke on the recent spat after the IRS released its new measurement data. According to him, media owners were “caught by surprise”. He explained, “There was a huge gap between the last IRS report and this one. The market certainly hasn't changed. So what happened in between? IRS' challenge lies in its making it clear what measurement procedure it follows and letting people know that it is trustable.”

Punitha Arumugam emphasized that the results of any measurement matter to everyone, including media owners. However, she stressed that there has to be some validation from what she called a commonsensical point of view.

On the question of sample size, Tripathy said that unless the correct sample size is taken, no measurement will work. There is a need to look at research in a slightly different manner. Data collected in one way may not hold true anymore since the way one watches television has changed with many youngsters nowadays watching TV on their mobiles and iPads. He suggested that multiple touch-points and better currencies will help advertisers as well.

Partho Dasgupta spoke about BARC and its research method. Since BARC contemplates only big data – starting with 20,000 homes, 365 days, 24 hours – there are lesser chances of mistakes. “We are trying to go beyond the way it is presently stimulated, based on what the customer needs. We may even look at data fusing and bringing out other products.”

The panel ended the discussion with a talk about the digital platform and how it poses a threat to intellectual property in general. According to Arumugum, digital is in the nascent stage in terms of measurement. However, she went on to explain Google's monetisation policy with its content creators and how information about the number of impressions and revenue generated rests with the publisher.

Sohini.Sen@BestMediaInfo.com

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