Television
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Marketers want news channel viewership data to be more frequent

Channels are now competing with digital platforms where data is almost real-time.

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NEW DELHI: The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) and the representatives of the news genre have often been at loggerheads; the latter having several complaints regarding how the measurements work. From sample size to data points, everything has been a cause of concern for most of the channel owners and editors. Now, several marketers have raised another important point in the narrative, expressing how they would like the industry ratings, including the IRS ratings, to be more frequent. 

At a recent webinar on brand safety hosted by Indiantelevision.com, presented by BBC World News and BBC.com, Future Group CMO - FBB Prachi Mohapatra pointed out that ratings remain at the basis of all the math they do to create their marketing strategies and decide their marketing pies and it would really help the cause if they are more regular. 

“I really want to have data that I can rely on completely and not have to act on my gut feeling basis the data of the past week or the past few months,” she said. 

PolicyBazaar head of marketing Samir Sethi also insisted that the data should be as real-time as possible so one doesn’t have to wait for the completion of a campaign to gauge its success.

“I think all advertisers and agencies would want the data to be as frequent as possible because that will aid in instant decision making. If I know about the ratings six months later or two months later, it gets less valuable,” explained Wavemaker CEO - South Asia Ajay Gupte.

He went on to add that TV channels could potentially lose out to digital modes of marketing, where the data can be tracked and measured practically instantaneously. “It's about having data which is relevant and which is robust and which is to the day because the channels today are also competing with Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, where the data is almost real-time.” 

Parle Products senior category head - marketing Krishnarao S Buddha agreed that there is a dire need of a frequent matrix but he highlighted that content should also be taken into consideration to create a differentiation when it comes to picking channels to put ads on. 

Initiative CEO Vaishali Verma, while acknowledging that there are certain brands that prefer buying news as a commodity and plan their spends basis TRP, said there are some that also see the content and its authenticity. 

Mohapatra added that along with the individual content of the channel, another factor contributing to their marketing decisions are the fellow brands that are present on the channel. “Looking into the adjacent space helps us create a multiplier effect for the sales. Therefore, it is very important to put your brand in a space that is relevant for you and your category.” 

However, when it comes to picking content to put ads on, Sethi emphasises that brands should be non-partisan. “If somebody believes in a certain media outlet, he is still a potential customer. Toxicity is a different thing, but when it comes to the leaning of a channel, I think businesses should not pick a side. The world has always been divided and it will continue to be. Our aim should be to be present where the customer is.” 

The panel also discussed other hot-button issues like the need for 24-hour news channels, and how advertisers are seeing the current news media. 

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