IBF is not ending TAM subscription: Punit Goenka

MUMBAI: The sword has been hanging on Television Audience Measurement’s (TAM) head for a long time now. From NDTV Group’s $1.3 billion lawsuit (though dismissed by courts) to Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) likely to start releasing television ratings data by April, as reported earlier by, things haven’t been hunky-dory for the measurement body for a while now.

However, not only did the agency fight tooth and nail the allegations of poor quality TAM research data, it also complied with the guidelines set by Information and Broadcasting Ministry for a TV ratings agency in order to exist. For instance, TAM continues to increase the size of the panel to fulfill the minimum peoplemeter sample size of 20,000 homes guideline, set by the I&B Ministry.

With a few months left for BARC to begin rolling out its data, there have been various speculations making rounds in the industry. “There is the cost issue. Why would one pay for both TAM and BARC subscription? Also, since both the measurement bodies have a different way of functioning, one needs to take a break before adopting the new one,” says an industry source on the reason for the ratings blackout, if indeed it ever happens.

So much so, a few media reports have gone on record to say that the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) is planning to end its subscription with TAM leading to a period sans ratings. This in turn has created panic in the industry, as it awaits two major events namely the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and the eighth edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL). As per sources, ad rates for WC are touted to be around Rs 4 lakh for 10 seconds and ad rates for IPL have seen an increase of around 10-15 per cent generating huge ad revenue for broadcasters.

When questioned on the reports doing the rounds and how it would impact the industry in case the IBF decides to end its subscription from TAM, Kantar CEO Eric Salama laughs saying, “I don’t know about the intentions.”

What’s more, an industry source  close to the development clarifies that so far the ratings agency had not heard from the IBF or anyone from the industry on the matter.

To get further confirmation on the matter, contacted IBF board member and BARC chairman Punit Goenka and he denied the report as well. “There is no such decision taken by the IBF,” he asserted.

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