Competition Commission orders investigation on representation of Doordarshan in TAM

Competition Commission orders investigation on representation of Doordarshan in TAM


New Delhi: In a judgement, the Competition Commission of India, has given the verdict under Section 26 (1) of the Competition Art 2002, against TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd, sole and dominant television viewership measurement firm in India that it has abused its position of strength with respect to measurement of viewership in contravention of the provisions of section 4 of the Act. The total numbers of people meters installed by TAM were only 8000 and these meters were installed in urban areas i.e. cities. No meters were installed in rural areas. The taste of cultural programmes and other programmes differ in urban areas from rural areas. In rural areas viewers may like to watch folk dances etc in the local language. As such, installation of people meters only in urban areas cannot reflect viewers choice. The sample size represented a very minuscule & narrow statistical base, keeping in view 120 millions television households. The rural viewership was completely ignored and excluded from the TAM Services. TAM was not displaying the true picture regarding TVR/TRP of Doordarshan, which had large presence in all rural areas and was broadcasting programmes keeping in view, the taste of rural viewers.

In India, within the Television Industry, about 34% of revenue comes from advertisements. The rating generated had a great bearing on advertisement revenue of a channel. It also had adverse consequences for broadcasters besides affecting the interests of the consumers.

It was observed that the sample size of 8000 homes in a vast country like India, having population of more than 126 crores was also minuscule and misleading. In a country as vast as India with diverse culture, different languages, where the urban population was only 30% and rural population about 70%, not installing people meters in rural areas, prima facie, amounted to restricting use of technology of measuring viewer?s choice to the prejudice of customers (in this case Doordarshan). In order to have a PAN India viewership data, it was essential for the TAM to have larger sample size and to distribute this sample size in rural and urban population according to the ratio in which the population stands distributed in rural and urban areas. Because of this non-distribution of sample, the taste of rural viewers was being totally blacked out. People in rural areas might be interested in different kind of programmes might be viewing agricultural related, folk dances or local problems related programmes or the programmes more centred around rural culture. But viewership of this entire area of programmes was not being measured and was not reflected in the TRP/TRV. Doordarshan is the only channel which broadcasts many such programmes like Krishi Darshan, Gyan Darshan, Kalyani, etc.., which relate to the taste of rural areas.

It is the only channel which has extensive reach to the rural areas. Non-providing of people?s meter in rural areas amounted to discrimination to Doordarshan and other similar channels, if any, catering to the needs of the rural areas. Due to this discrimination between rural and urban viewers and basing TRP only on the basis of urban viewers, the TAM was prima facie indulging in practice of denial of advertisement market.

Resultantly, the Commission is of the opinion thatPrima Facie there was sufficient material to refer the case to the Director General (DG) to cause an investigation to be made into the matter under section 26(1) of the Act ?It is ordered accordingly?.

DG shall investigate the matter about violation of the provisions of the Competition Act. In case the DG finds TAM was in violation of the provision of Competition Act, it shall also investigate the role of the persons who at the time of such contravention were incharge of and responsible for the conduct of the business of the Company so as to fix responsibility of such persons under section 48 of the Competition Act.

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