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Sony Entertainment Network & Times TV Network pull the plug on TAM; others to follow?

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MUMBAI: It‘s official. At the time of writing, two leading Indian TV networks, Multi Screen Media (which runs Sony Entertainment TV, Sab, Max, Pix and Six) and Times Television Network (which runs ET Now, Movies Now, Times Now and Zoom) had officially written to TAM Media Research informing its CEO LV Krishnan that they were stopping their subscription to the weekly TV ratings service from 6 June 2013. Hitherto, it had been reported that Sony was only mulling taking this step. TAM Media CEO confirmed that he had received the cessation notices from both the broadcast networks.

MSM CEO Man Jit Singh: his network is the first to stop subscribing to TAM‘s weekly TV ratings service

Apparently, more letters from the broadcast industry are likely to follow as many more members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) have decided to stop their subscriptions to TAM‘s ratings, if sources are to be believed.

Says IBF president & MSM CEO Man Jit Singh: "There is a great deal of concern over the credibility and reliability of TAM. Seeing the fluctuations, which are happening since IPL and before that, we have decided to stop subscribing to TAM. The GEC market has shrunk by 20 per cent, which again puts a question mark over the reliability of TAM. Why would I pay for this? The entire IBF has complained and expressed their frustration. They even asked for a suitable explanation but we did not get one."

Both Star India CEO Uday Shankar and Times Television Network CEO Sunil Lulla refused to comment when indiantelevision.com tried to get their viewpoint on the issue.

TAM‘s LV Krishnan: The show will go on; we will continue measuring TV viewership

But the fact is that TV ratings in India have always been a hotly debated subject. Now more

fat is likely to be added to the fire with this development with the doomsayers saying "I told you so, TAM‘s ratings are suspect, they are rigged and it will get its comeuppance some day. And that day has come."

Krishnan, however, is taking the broadcasters‘ decision in his stride. Says he: "If anybody has any concerns we are always open for discussion. Our job is to provide quality and clean data and we will continue to do that irrespective of who subscribes or not. Our parent companies have funded us in the past whether there were subscribers or not. We will continue to measure viewership."

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