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Industry applauds TRAI’s efforts for better measurement system

In its effort to effectively regulate the advertiser’s monies in the radio platform, almost all the players in the radio industry have expressed support to TRAI, vouching for a sturdy and stable measurement system.

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | March 18, 2016

traiTo the ever existing woes of the radio broadcasters, audience measurement has been one of the crucial ones and finally, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to resolve this issues.

TRAI has brought out a consultation paper, seeking the views and comments of stakeholders - both radio broadcasters and advertisers - on the need to restructure the radio audience measurement (RAM) and ratings in India. The TRAI has sought written comments on the consultation paper from stakeholders by April 11, 2016. Counter comments, may be submitted by April 25. The comments and counter comments will be posted on TRAI’s website – www.trai.gov.in.

The radio veterans are expecting a lot of changes while radio Phase III is still in process. It is indeed time to bring reforms for radio audience measurement (RAM) system too, along with a need to get rid from a tax burden. The radio broadcasting services were opened to the private sector in 2000 and currently 243 FM radio channels are operational in 86 cities.

In a country like India, where digital is growing at a massive pace, another medium radio seems to be growing at snail’s pace. Only a perfect measurement system will help advertisers select the right channel or programme for their target listeners and also help radio channels improve the content of their programmes.

The current provider for ratings is state broadcaster, All India Radio (AIR), which is also the market leader. It determines RAM for itself, while the rest of the industry depends on TAM ratings.

In order to explore the thought further, BestMediaInfo asked industry veterans to know their thoughts on the system and how the new system will bring in a reform.

Vineet Singh Hukmani Vineet Singh Hukmani

Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD and CEO, Radio One

There is no current rating system. It is a sham. What is needed is a new age mechanism that works in the digital age and is capable of measuring audience engagement and not just empty reach based on brand recall. The current diary method was invented in the late 60s and recall is not a measure of listenership. 400 diaries is too small a sample and is statistically insignificant. So, TRAI needs to apply itself to a new age method as mentioned above.

Tarun Katial Tarun Katial

Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited

This was a much needed step which has finally been taken up by TRAI which will not only help the radio industry but will also be beneficial for key stakeholders and advertisers. It is mandatory to have an effective performance rating system in place to evaluate radio audience measurement, which will eventually help in the advertiser’s decision making process. Currently, the rating system has its own limitations. We completely agree with TRAI’s proposal and believe that if the measurement processes will be made more transparent and credible, it will be a huge success.

Abraham Thomas Abraham Thomas

Abraham Thomas, CEO, Radio City 91.1FM

Any move in a direction which brings greater clarity to the sector is always welcome. While we will continue to study the report and its implications further, it suffices to say that Radio City welcomes any move that helps in increasing the transparency, trust, credibility and acceptability of radio audience measurement.

Nisha Narayanan Nisha Narayanan

Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM

FM has been a prominent player in the media industry and has grown to a level where it should have its own currency to grow beyond a current level - 4 percent of the media pie - and hence welcomes suo-motu initiative by TRAI to come with its consultative paper on issues related to Audience Measurements. As a network we have been most vociferous player to condemn the current ratings, its methodologies and means of doing the survey. There are issues in both RAM and IRS. The former being a commissioned study to understand readership, has failed to measure radio audience and to be fair they don’t either have the technology nor the bandwidth to do so – however as there was no other option, we all initially subscribed to it however it couldn’t justify our requirements. As far as RAM is concerned, it’s clearly a half-hearted effort. RAM is working on a very old dated establishment survey, mere;y on four cities, which doesn’t really represent India which changes after every 20kms. The initiative by TRAI is a welcome move but it needs to be discussed thoroughly to address the above mentioned concerns and address the shortcomings of current measurement system. TRAI has just come out with their paper and we are currently examining the same.

In conclusion, it seems that the move will only give a boost to the radio industry if TRAI is actually able to establish a stable and sturdy measurement system. All the radio experts have shown a lot of hope that TRAI brings in a proper regulatory body to measure radio audience measurement which is of global standards.

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