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TAM to survey digital penetration in 4 metros in November

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MUMBAI: TAM Media Research, the only television audience measurement service in India, will conduct a survey in November in the four metros to get an estimate of digital penetration after compulsory digitisation gets implemented on 1 November.

TAM will also conduct a special survey called All India Digital Establishment Survey (DES) across the country in December to confirm the share of digital in total television households.

The survey to be conducted in November is part of the DAS Establishment Survey it started in May in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata to keep track of the progress in switchover to digital delivery of cable television.

In a statement released by TAM Thursday evening, TAM CEO LV Krishnan said, “TAM has been long ready to measure Indian Television Homes’ transition to the Digital World since way back in 2007. We implemented the state of the art, platform neutral, TVM5 Peoplemeter system then and started reporting data in July 2008.”

TAM said it has been able to reflect the change from analogue homes to digital in its panel homes till now. But this change has been gradual and thus, the agency has had breathing space to make the corrections required. Of the total 8,000 homes where TAM has installed its peoplemeters to gather viewership data, 1,500 are in the four metros.

As 1 November inches closer, there is a possibility that there will be a significant spike in the conversion from analogue to digital which TAM would find difficult to accommodate and reflect in its sample over a short period of time, which would then lead to inconsistencies in data. Hence, it accepted the decision of industry bodies Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) to have the ratings suspended for nine weeks till week starting 8 December.

Clarifying further, Krishnan told indiantelevision.com, “The main question is what universe do we project the (ratings) data to? There are going to be some homes that have not shifted to digital by 1 November. Of these, some might shift; some might not while some may even go the terrestrial way.”

This change will take some time to take place. During the stabilisation period, the universe TAM is projecting to will be in a state of flux. There are many factors that may affect the conversion from analogue to digital. Apart from people waiting till the last moment, there is also the question of availability and deployment of digital set top boxes.

Echoing his thoughts, Lodestar UM CEO Shashi Sinha says, “There are two issues. One is the panel (television homes where TAM has installed its peoplemeters). The second is the fluctuation (in data) and viewership. The panel is the basic data but what about the fluctuation in viewership that will happen because of the digital signals?”

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