Lodestar's 'Reel Pointer' - an overview

MUMBAI: Media agency Lodestar had an enviable outing during the EMVIES '04 where the agency bagged the coveted Agency of the Year trophy. The rich haul the agency had at the EMVIES included the gold in the category of Best Media Research for the case study titled the Reel Pointer.

Reel Pointer is a regression model that uses both viewership and non-viewership factors to predict ratings of blockbuster films on television. Lodestar has fine-tuned the software now that it introduced one year ago.



While TV measurement software does not account for all the factors that can impact a film's rating on TV. For example, a spot on a blockbuster like Gadar has the potential to get an advertiser three times as many TVRs as a spot on a popular soap like Koi Apna Sa on Zee TV. This means that if an outlay of Rs.1 million on Gadar can get 47 GRPs (All individuals C&S Mumbai), it will be as much as 200 per cent more than that achieved by the same monies on Koi Apna Sa.

But huge outlays are not without huge stakes. The question of accountability remains unanswered - how does a media planner use more than his intuition to recommend a film? That demands a tool designed exclusively to predict a film's rating based on an analysis of its past performance and future environment. Such a tool will make it easier to buy with the media buyer getting a Cost Per Rating Point (CPRP) benchmark. That helps an easy sale also as the client responds with more warmth to a movie that is a proven performer.

The tool works by taking into account the factors that affect the TRP of the film. Box-office collections, 'recency' of the movie, number of repeats, promos, channel, day-part, and day are the factors that influence the TRP. The model is based on linear multiple regression which draws a relationship between the TRP and the independent variables.

Reel Pointer aids the decision maker at 2 levels. At the planning stage, it predicts and validates TRP for a blockbuster movie. A plan can be optimised and spots distributed accordingly. At the buying level, it provides a CPRP benchmark that can be used to leverage a cost-effective buy from the channel.

Take the case of a plan on Star Plus for Mumbai optimised for all individuals, SEC ABC, C&S built with conventional tools and then with the Reel Pointer advantage.

Plan 1: This plan has two of the top programmes on Star Plus - Kyunki Saans…, Kahin Kissi Roz and a blockbuster film Dil Chahta Hai. Assuming that Dil Chahta Hai will achieve at least as much as the top programme and also cost as much, a rating of 13 has been assigned to it. The planner knows that the blockbuster will deliver, but he does not have validating data for support. He hedges his bets and spreads spots equally across all programmes. The cumulative GRP rises from 26 to 42 and peaks at 68. The cost builds up to Rs 3 million.

Plan 2: Reel Pointer predicts for the planner a TRP of 12.4 on Dil Chahta Hai. Negotiating the rate down by 20 per cent, he can take more spots on the blockbuster and achieve 12 per cent more deliveries with a 13 per cent savings.

Some recent Reel Pointer predictions Vs Actual TRPs



Actual TRP


Predicted Range





13.2 - 16.8

Dil Chahta Hai




10.8 - 14.4





6.4 - 9.9





6.1 - 9.7

The Hero




9.7 - 13.2





5.2 - 8.7

Awara Paagal Deewana




3.4 - 7.0

Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam




1.1 - 4.7

Tere Naam




6.2 - 9.8





4.3 - 7.8

Jhankaar Beats




1.1 - 4.3



Qualitative factors outside the regression model may also influence the performance of a film. As such, the predictions derived from Reel Pointer should not be taken in isolation but more as a decision-making tool. A good prediction will always overlay the influence of other factors on the Reel Pointer predictions.

For example, a movie that is not a big draw at the box office may still be well received by the television audiences. Television gives them a chance to see a film that may not have been worth the effort of watching in the cinema hall. The TV rating in such cases will lie closer to the upper end of the prediction interval.

"If movies are set to be the next show on the programming screen, Reel Pointer vision will show them up for what they really are. A blockbuster at the box office is not necessarily a hit on television. And if it is, Reel Pointer will make sure the advertiser does not miss the best part," says Lodestar Media group leader Shrikant Shenoy.

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