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Tiff between advertisers and TV channels worsens

M.J.Sadiq

M Jahabar Sadiq
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Television channels have just a day left and then they might lose a substantial part of their sheen. Shah Rukh Khan claiming his strength lies in his vest, Priyanka Chopra revealing the secret of her long, black tresses, or Katrina Kaif tempting you to have some soft drink—all this might soon become a thing of the past. And all thanks to the tiff between the advertisers and TV channels. Advertisers have told the channels, who had shifted to a monthly rating system that all advertising release orders for spot bookings will stand cancelled with effect from Tuesday if they don't go back to the weekly TAM (Television Audience Measurement) rating model. The notices were sent to the channels last weekend.

Last month, many TV channels cancelled their TAM subscriptions doubting the veracity of their methodology. It was then decided that an alternative body would be formed. As an interim solution, the channels went back to TAM but on monthly basis.

Not so long ago, the advertisers and the channels were on the same page as far as TAM ratings are concerned. However, after a run of one month, the advertisers have decided to do a U-turn on the channels. A source from the TV industry said, "The new body, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), has got all the necessary clearances. But it will take at least 18 months to come into force. In the meantime, the advertisements are getting costlier by the day. And without a system in place it is becoming increasingly difficult for the advertisers to invest in the channels."

Vinita Bangard, Founder and CEO of Krossovver, a company that deals with ads for SRK and Priyanka Chopra, said, "I endorse the decision taken by advertisers." Afsar Zaidi, CEO of Carving Dreams, a company that manages endorsements of the likes of HrithikRoshan, Saif Ali Khan, said, "I know of this new tussle between the advertisers and the TV channels. I shall be able to tell you more about our next course of action, once the brands start getting in touch with us.

Meenakshi Menon, founder Spatial Access, a media audit and advisory company, voiced similar views: "There are definitely serious issues as far as TAM ratings are concerned," she said, adding, "But why would advertisers invest on channels with low TRPs? TRPs fluctuate every day."

Meanwhile, we hear, TAM is in celebration mood. However, when contacted L V Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, Senior Vice-President of TAM, refused to comment.


Tiff between advertisers and TV channels worsens - The Times of India


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M.J.Sadiq

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TV measurement: Advertisers cancel ROs to channels that moved to monthly data

The AAAI and ISA have reacted strongly to a host of broadcasters - BAG, MSM, NDTV, Network18, Star India, Times Television, ZEE - asking TAM to report their data on monthly basis, instead of weekly. TAM had ceded to their request, as reported by Campaign India.

FMCG companies including Britannia, Dabur, Godrej, HUL, Marico and P&G, among others, have decided to cancel the release orders to broadcasters, if the channels do not revert to reporting viewership data on a weekly basis, informed senior industry professionals following the developments.

The decision of moving to monthly ratings, AAAI contends, was not taken in consultation with advertising bodies - Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) or the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

Over the years, the broadcasters have shown their discontent with the only rating currency present for TV medium currently - TAM. This has also resulted in a unified call (by advertisers, broadcasters and media agencies) for nationwide audience research joint body - Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

On the current impasse on the Television Audience Measurement, Arvind Sharma, president, AAAI, said, "For 14 years, TAM has been the TV Audience measurement system in the country. It has been the currency on the basis of which advertising planning, buying and selling have been conducted. We all agree that this measurement system needs to evolve. That is the common goal towards which broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies came together to create Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). BARC will take 10 months or so to start generating its audience measurement data. In the meantime, however, if individual broadcasters try to force unilateral changes in the current system, as some have tried, it will result in a disorderly and hybrid measurement system. It will become impossible for advertising agencies and advertisers to plan and therefore, buy TV spots. In this scenario, it is natural for advertisers to begin to question the value of advertising in this medium at all. Cancellation of TV releases by many advertisers on eight network groups that have insisted on unilateral changes is a natural outcome of that. More clients are following."

The fallout

The broadcasters who have chosen to move to monthly data command more than 100 channels between them. The cancellation of release spots might result in inventory loss of 60 to 70 per cent across channels, estimated Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South Asia, Havas Media.

Ajay Kakar, CMO – financial services, Aditya Birla Group, said, "When all the world is moving to real-time 'live' data, moving to a monthly reporting defeats the purpose of real time optimisation and tactical plans. No imminent action can be taken once we get data on a monthly basis. To that extent, this move is a reason for concern. I do believe that there is need for all concerned stakeholders to sit across and discuss this openly, with all their cards on the table. That is the only way to get a lasting and win-win solution."

While TV is still critical and a core component of the media mix for several campaigns and communication initiatives, there would be marginal increase in those channels who have not taken the monthly reporting route, say some advertisers.

"But I see more of non-TV options gaining real momentum, thanks to this situation especially in digital, cinema with audio-visual deliveries," pointed Kakar. Print will also benefit on account of this shuffle of media dollars, he added.

Amin Lakhani, principal partner, The Exchange, Fulcrum, at MindShare, noted, "It is a sad situation. Weekly data helps us and the clients to take corrective measure in time or measure the effectiveness of a campaign. Now, waiting 30 days for measuring effectiveness or corrective measure will only prove regressive."

Especially after digitisation, monthly ratings would prove to be a regressive step as increasingly advertisers' feel the need for 'real-time bidding', contend planners.

"You know you like it and 'feel' like wanting it, but you never know whether you got it at the right price. In the new system, what will happen is whatever accountability was there in the past, has practically vanished. A post evaluation is very much like a post mortem with no chance of resurrecting the situation. Will this result in ad rate fluctuations? I do believe that it will, as the pricing is anybody's guess and benchmarks will not be effective. Can this add to the confusion among media planners? Yes it will, because of two separate currencies in the same research reporting. Additional time coupled with additional effort will lead to lesser effectiveness for advertisers," explained Kakar.

Solution 'soon'

An industry veteran from a broadcasting company said, "This is a sensitive topic. We are sure that a logical and correct solution will be reached within a day or two."

Concurring, Nayar said, "Each day discussions between the broadcasters and advertisers are happening, and we are sure that an amicable solution will be reached. Even with net billing, the solution was reached in 15 days."

The industry, including the advertisers and planners, are currently in the wait-and-watch situation.

AAAI stand

"AAAI believes that any change in the TV measurement system needs to be thought through and to have support from all the three industry constituents - broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies. We continue to be firmly of the belief that dialogue among all constituents is essential for evolving the system. We remain open to discussions, as always. However, this does require similar openness across all constituents. We will continue to work towards a dialogue," said Sharma.

At the time of filing the story, no other broadcaster had announced switching to monthly ratings.

Update

Discovery Networks, which was reported to have requested a switch to monthly ratings, has now decided to stick to weekly ratings. This was confirmed by sources close to the development.


TV measurement: Advertisers cancel ROs to channels that moved to monthly data - News - Advertising - Campaign India

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M.J.Sadiq

M Jahabar Sadiq
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Dabur, Nestle pull ads from 8 TV channels; HUL may follow

Leading advertisers including Dabur and Nestle India have pulled out from eight television channels that shifted to monthly ratings from a weekly basis. The names of the channels could not be ascertained.


While Dabur and Nestle India have confirmed that they are pulling out ads, agencies of other biggies such as Hindustan Unilever and Marico have already written to TAM Media Reasearch on the issue.

Advertisers have said that in the absence of weekly television audience measurement (TAM) data, it will be difficult for them to plan their media strategies.

“As advertisers, we have been voicing our discontent with the decision of some broadcasters to opt for monthly release of TAM ratings,” said Devender Garg, senior executive director, consumer care business, Dabur India.

“In the absence of clarity from TAM Media research on reverting to weekly reporting of ratings, we are suspending all ads for the time being and are studying the situation to chart the future course of action. The fact remains that in the absence of any TAM data, it will be difficult for advertisers to plan their media strategies and schedules.”

“The current situation has a significant impact on us as an advertiser. We are seriously concerned and are considering pulling out,” said a spokesperson at Nestle India.

“For fourteen years, TAM has been the TV audience measurement system in the country,” said Arvind Sharma, president, Advertising Agencies Association. “It has been the currency on the basis of which advertising planning, buying and selling have been conducted. This measurement system needs to evolve.”

“Broadcast Audience Research Council will take ten months or so to start generating its audience measurement data. Till then it will become impossible for advertisers to buy TV spots. So, it is natural for them to question the value of advertising in this medium,” he added.


Dabur, Nestle pull ads from 8 TV channels; HUL may follow - Hindustan Times

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