Industry’s anxiety about viewership patterns post digitization proved misplaced as the TAM numbers released after a gap of 10 weeks don’t reflect massive deviations
Contrary to the doomsday prophecies, the television industry’s ratings system did not go through any violent convulsions as the country’s major metros transitioned from analogue distribution system to a digitally addressable regime. After a 10 week blip, Mumbai-based television ratings company TAM Media Research Pvt Ltd resumed the release of television viewership data. And surprisingly, there were no major deviations in the viewership scenario but for minor dips in average weekly reach and daily ratings. Most interestingly, there was no upheaval in the line-up of winners and losers in the Hindi general entertainment genre, the biggest segment on TV both in terms of viewership and advertising. An interesting change, however, was a marginal increase reflected in the viewership of niche channels.
The release of data had been kept on hold because of the digitization drive in the metros mandated by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. It was felt by the industry bodies such the Advertising Agencies Association Of India (AAAI), the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the ISA (Indian Society of Advertisers) that the transition might lead to inconsistencies in ratings because of logistical challenges involved in the exercise.
In the end, it all turned out to be a storm in a tea cup. There are many in the industry who, however, feel the suspension of data was justified. “All industry bodies including the AAAI, ISA and IBF were aligned ahead of time on the extraordinary circumstances leading to TAM data suspension and the transition has been conducted with maturity,” said Dyanada Chaudhari, COO at one of the units of Madison Media. She added that it was business as usual in the festive period with all fast moving consumer goods companies continuing to spend on television and brands with skews to metros using dailies and outdoor to boost reach.
A white paper released by media buying agency Madison Media shows that TAM has reclassified its viewership universe into digital cable and satellite (C&S) and non-C&S. This has shrunk the total viewership universe by 5% in Mumbai, 3% in Delhi and 10% in Kolkata. The average weekly reach in Mumbai has gone down from 88% to 83% and in Delhi from 93% to 88%, Kolkata numbers are stable. Average TV ratings for a regular day have dropped by 6% in Mumbai and 3% in Delhi while