Real-time TRP rating starts with DTH viewers

Written by Soma Das | New Delhi, Sep 5 | Updated: Sep 7 2008, 04:55am hrs
Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd (aMap), the second largest TV rating agency, plans to introduce exclusive TRP measurement of DTH households by the end of October. The move aims to addressing the concern of broadcasters that DTH TV viewing data is not being gathered sufficiently by the current audience measurement techniques.

The agency will follow it up by bringing in real time TRP measurement in the country, albeit for a premium customer segment in the initial stages.

Originally it was the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc), a non-profit company floated by stakeholders in the audience rating sector (AAAI-Advertising Agencies Association of India, ISAIndian Society of Advertisers and IBFIndian Broadcasting Foundation), which had planned to launch real time monitoring by October.

However, soon after the broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recommended a changed mandate for Barc suggesting it to become the guardian and supervisor of the rating industry instead of launching itself as a player, the plans got deferred. At present the information and broadcasting ministry is deliberating upon the recommendations of Trai.

On its foray into tracking the DTH households, Amit Verma, CEO, aMap told FE, The technology of measurement that we plan to bring in involves exclusive panel of DTH households and is not just an add on measurement technique.

Verma added the meters being developed in-house would be dynamic enough to capture the changing landscape of DTH sector. The sector, which currently caters to approximately 9 million households, is slated to serve 19 million households by 2010 says an Ernest and Young estimate.

On being asked if the meters being worked on will function through set-top boxes, a technology currently being endorsed by rival company Tam Media, Verma said, No. To assess TV viewing habits through set-top boxes we will have to share the list of meter-installed households with the DTH operators. The data which is supposed to remain strictly confidential may get compromised that way.

Eventually aMap also plans to institute a rural household panel to capture and analyse TV viewing habits in the countryside. Currently two private agenciesTam Media Research and aMap- are offering TV ratings services on a commercial basis. Tam has already started tracking the DTH data.

The monthly subscriptions of the existing agencies come at a cost of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. However, a broadcaster informed that the agencies charge differentially from various channels currently due to the near-monopolistic position in audience rating measurement business.

The rating agencies have a direct impact on Rs 8,000-crore annual TV advertising business. Tam media research is a JV between AC Nielsen and IMRB International while Media Services & Holdings LLC has a majority stake in aMap.