Mumbai peoplemeter revamp 50 per cent complete

Thirty-eight days ago the Indian cable, satellite, and terrestrial television, advertising and market research industries received a body-blow with the anonymous release of peoplemeter lists in Mumbai of both the major television viewership tracking agencies AC Nielsen’s TAM Media and ORG Marg’s INTAM.

There was a hue and cry raised with Zee Telefilms broadcasting CEO Sandeep Goyal going so far as to demand the scrapping of the ratings altogether till a countrywide revamp was instituted.

That demand was not accepted but both agencies are currently in the middle of an excercise aimed at revamping their Mumbai lists of respondents and are half way through the exercise.

Ashok Das, president ORG Marg says: "Half of the exercise is over. In the next four weeks the remaining work is expected to be complete. It will take another three to four weeks after that to do other related work. We can expect the new rating lists in the coming two months."

LV Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research, when asked as to how far the work had proceeded, responded that the major part of it is over, but would not put a time frame on its completion. "The task is huge and is being carefully done, which requires a lot of time. It is not about just picking up the homes. A lot of research has to be done while selecting the samples."

When asked whether TAM was going to increase the size of the people meter sample, Krishnan says: "We don't find any problem with the size of the sample. And adding to the sample will add to costs to a great extent." Krishnan was reluctant to reveal the investment being put in the revamping operation saying that it was an internal affair.

Queried as to whether there would be an increase in the charges because of the heavy expenses the revamping exercise has called for, Krishnan said this "will be decided only after the whole exercise is over." But reading between the lines, it appeared as though subscribers will have to bear some of the costs in the form of revised rates. The industry body (the Indian Broadcasting Foundation) is being consulted while doing the exercise, Krishnan said.

Das also chose to keep his lips zipped on Intam subscription rates, saying that no decision had been taken as yet. "As of now we are going ahead with the present rate cards," he says. He indicated that revisions - if any - would be contemplated only when the next rate card was being drawn up.

Asked whether Zee had chosen to unsubscribe to the ratings reports as had been reported in the media, Das said nothing of the sort had happened. "All our old clients are very much with us and it is just a rumour that a few are going to unsubscribe ." TAM's Krishnan gave the same reply.

AC Nielsen as well as ORG Marg will be scrutinising other panels in India, but that would be only as part of a regular exercise. Annually, both the agencies replace 15 to 20 per cent of their respective samples.

INTAM has over 7,000 respondents covering 49 towns and cities while TAM has installed peoplemeters in 3,454 homes, covering 27 cities.

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