Report on Shemaroo

Why marketers are quite unfazed by lack of TV news TRPs

Brands, however, have become more conscious of their budgets.

NEW DELHI: The temporary halt that the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) put on the issuance of the television rating point (TRP) of news channels three months ago is not bothering the marketing fraternity much. The observation was made by an elaborate panel consisting of some of the top brands and marketers at’ s ‘India Khush Hua’ virtual roundtable, hosted in partnership with Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. 

Dabur India Ltd head of media Rajiv Dubey noted that media planning got slightly impacted because of the whole controversy, however, the spending sentiment is not really down. 

He said, “So far, we haven’t seen any serious downsides. Obviously, we have become more cautious about how to spend our money more wisely but the spending sentiment for television is not going down.”

He attributed it to the fact that the other counterpart – digital media – doesn’t have an authentic, centralised currency to share data with the marketers and there still are tools that can give reliable data on television ratings. 

However, for Think & Learn Pvt Ltd (BYJU's) head of marketing Atit Mehta, TRPs don’t really matter to a leading a digital-first company when planning marketing pies. “We get all the data from our own products, what percentage of people are using the platform, which areas are more active, which subjects are performing the best, etc. We relied on BARC to just re-authenticate our own feelings,” he highlighted. 

Ratings should be used as guidance and not taken as gospel truth, asserted Havas Media Group India CEO Mohit Joshi. “There has to be a sense of ratings to figure out what ads a show should get. We have been using a tool called Zappr for some time now and we have observed that the findings are very much in line with the BARC’s for most times. Also, we plan the pies based on our decades of experience and understanding of the medium.”

OMD India CEO Priti Murthy shared that this is not the first instance of the industry facing this issue, and they are far more prepared this time. “We are mature enough to tide without the ratings.”

Echoing the sentiment, Madison Media Sigma CEO Vanita Keswani went on to underline that the Covid-2019 crisis has, in fact, made them (the agencies) more agile and this seems like a minor, temporary issue. 

It was in October last year after the Mumbai police allegedly unearthed a TRP manipulation scam involving leading news channels that BARC took the decision to cease releasing TV news data for its stakeholders for 12 weeks. It was last week that the industry was expecting BARC to resume publication of the data, however, the council told that the internal review process being carried out by the tech committee is still ongoing, and clarity on a timeline for the release of TV news TRP data will be shared after that. 

‘India Khush Hua’ was a virtual roundtable discussion, presenting one of the most comprehensive outlooks for the media and entertainment industry for the year 2021. It featured Think & Learn Pvt Ltd (BYJU's) head of marketing Atit Mehta, Lotus Herbals Pvt Ltd head - innovation development & brand strategy Ipsita Chatterjee, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd CEO Hiren Gada, Havas Media Group India CEO Mohit Joshi, Future Group India group head - digital, marketing & e-commerce Pawan Sarda, OMD India CEO Priti Murthy, Dabur India Ltd head of media Rajiv Dubey, PwC India partner - advisory Raman Kalra, and Madison Media Sigma CEO Vanita Keswani, in a free-wheeling panel discussion with session chair group founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari. 

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