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NDTV vs. TAM Case

shibz IF-Stunnerz
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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 3:23am | IP Logged
Guyz some of u might be aware of this latest case of NDTV vs. TAM..NDTV has filed a case against the TAM(TV Audience Measurement) to have been manipulated and corrupted! i found it interesting so thought to share.
Thodi zyada hi der se realize hua inkoStern Smile


NDTV vs TAM – The Kingdom is Naked

08/06/2012 | 6 comments | 2710 views
 719  388
 

In case you didn't notice, the entire TV and advertising worlds, their aunts, cousins and dogs, are up in arms over the NDTV Group's $1.3 billion lawsuit-grenade that has landed right in the center of their incestuous world. From advertisers to TV channels to media buyers, everybody is taking part in the newspaper column equivalent of the candlelight solidarity march.

"Of course, we've known this for years now."

"TAM data is utterly corrupted."

"Just 8000-odd homes cannot represent India."

It is as if every single person in the Rs.13,000 crore TV advertising kingdom woke up one fine day and decided to follow NDTV's lead and publicly denounce their undisputed king for over a decade, TAM.

Except in this case, it is not just the emperor who was naked.

It is instead the entire kingdom.

To understand why, consider these criticisms of TAM data.

"It is clearly emerging that we were provided research data that was questionable," said the CEO of Zee Networks.

"TAM CEO L.V Krishnan is a shattered man today. The credibility of the EU 4 billion Dutch information company VNU (via AC Nielsen) is now at stake."

"This is scandalous. It shows programmes are being rated with fudged figures and agencies merrily signing new contracts worth lakhs. The guilty should not go scot-free. But now that the rot has been noticed, hopefully things will be better in the future," said the CEO of Sony Entertainment TV.

Did I mention that all of them are over a decade old?

That's right. Those comments were in reaction to the sensational leak of TAM's "confidential" list of the homes it monitored in Mumbai for just a few thousand rupees in 2001.

What happened at the end of that sordid episode?

Well, the Indian Broadcasting Federation Foundation (IBF) set up a committee, that wonderful gift the British left us, to investigate the matter.

While their counterparts at the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) went much further, saying "the current model used to measure TV viewership or TRPs is one of the best in the world, and that the sanctity of the data had not been tampered with. It therefore remains the best system available to evaluate television viewership."

That TAM not only emerged unscathed from that crisis but went on to crush newer and technologically superior competitors like aMap along the way is a reflection on the doublespeak that exists within the industry.

We've compiled some of the best examples of this over the last week:

1. The TAM system can be easily gamed, thanks to corrupt field staff and small panel sizes

So who are the ones doing the actual, corrupting? Media advertising space is widely regarded to be one of the most opaque, mismanaged and corruptible sectors run by professionals and multinational companies. Ad agencies think nothing of taking kickbacks from media houses in return for delivering their client's ad budgets. Advertisers willingly shut their eyes to that as long as it saves them a few percentage points from their ad budgets, objectivity and transparency be damned.

2. The poor quality of TAM research is because Nielsen and Kantar (who together own TAM) refuse to infuse additional funds into India

While not defending TAM, this reeks of double-standards. TAM, like every single TV channel, ad agency or advertiser, is a profit-seeking company. It will do everything in its power to maintain or increase profit levels, including by cutting costs.

So if you agree with NDTV that TAM ought to increase its panel size from 8150 to 30,000, do keep your cheque books ready to pay an appropriately higher fee to cover the increase in costs.

3. Everybody's saying "I knew it" and "I told you so"

"I have always been saying that the TAM data is all wrong, fudged," says Subhash Chandra, the founder and chairman of Essel Group which owns the Zee group of channels.

In 2001, it was the very same Zee group then headed by Sandeep Goyal that spearheaded an attack on TAM after claiming that its panel database was available for just a few thousand rupees, allowing literally anyone to game the system.

So why then did it take 11 years to raise the same allegations? It's a question that industry stalwarts like Chandra should also ponder over.

4. Broadcasters blaming advertisers and ad agencies for letting it come to this

"It is very frustrating that the AAAI and ISA are holding BARC behind," says Star India CEO and President of the IBF, Uday Shankar.

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is (or was, depending on how cynical you want to be) a joint industry body comprised of broadcasters, advertisers and ad agencies to oversee and manage TV audience research in India. First mooted in 2007, it has yet to become operational.

Meanwhile, almost comically, AAAI and ISA say that the BARC was their idea and that the ball is currently in IBF's court.

5. Everybody just wants better data

Sure, just ask the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), which in September last year asked TAM to reduce the frequency of its audience monitoring data from weekly to monthly.

No wonder poor aMap, the ill-fated competitor to TAM which actually thought that with better technology (its monitoring system didn't require field visits) and frequency (daily instead of weekly), stood no chance at all. Because transparency and speed isn't what everyone wants.

6. TAM is woefully compromised because it is co-owned by WPP, which owns the largest ad and media buying agencies around.

This is particularly rich. Because much of the corruption at the field level for TAM happens with the assistance of local cable operators. I've heard multiple accounts of a media house that also owns a cable network (there are multiple) bribing TAM households with "free" flatscreen TVs in return for keeping their channels tuned in.

If the WPP group should be viewed with suspicion for its conflicts of interest, so should all media companies that have explicit or implicit ownership in cable and satellite distribution too.

7. Expanding TAM panels is prohibitively expensive

The way TAM conducts its research is so outdated, it borders on a joke. Outdated box-like instruments are connected to TVs inside panel households, each with its own remote which must be used by residents instead of better designed ones they probably own.

The data that is collected on their viewing habits is stored in the box and must be manually retrieved on a weekly basis by TAM's field staff. It is then transported to TAM's offices to be collated and published.

This is a horribly dated and expensive way to conduct research today.

Much of the expense and delays caused by manual collection of data can be done away with if the people meters can automatically upload data via a mobile data connection.

In fact that is exactly what aMap did. Not that it found much favour with TAM customers.

Regardless of aMap's failure, it should be possible to devise better people meter devices and data retrieval mechanisms so that a 100 percent increase in panel size doesn't necessarily have to imply a 100 percent increase in costs and fees.

8. TAM's sample size is too small for India.

The most common statistic that's trotted out to question TAM data is the apparently small size of its 8150 homes to measure 130 million homes with cable or satellite TV.

It's a wrong charge, because TAM does not purport to measure TV viewing across all of India, but only in "Class 1? towns and cities, i.e. those with a population above 1 lac. There are 162 of these currently.  (Rural towns are measured only for Maharashtra)

Of course there exists a case for increasing the panel size (the USA has 20,000 for 114 million TV households while UK has 5,100 for 26 million), but that is something TAM seemed to have already planned for.

9. Seeking the intervention of the government in TAM

One of the main points of the NDTV lawsuit is how politicians and political parties are behind-the-scenes owners of Indian TV broadcasting and distribution. NDTV estimates that nearly one-third of all news channels and close to two-thirds of all cable operators are owned by politicians or their parties.

Given that, and the dismal history of impartial regulation in India especially in recent years, you'd think it wasn't a great idea to welcome politicians into the TAM fiasco.

But then, cutting your own nose to spite your face seems to be a rather common activity for the sector.


Read more: http://forbesindia.com/blog/business-strategy/ndtv-vs-tam-the-kingdom-is-naked/#ixzz238IsKTnr


Here's another one with detailed article on how the readings are corrupted.. We always knew that 7000-8000 odd homes in India cant talk for the whole nation. But what's more shocking is that a part of even these many homes are made to watch what the certain channels/producers wanted to see on top in the TRP charts!

NDTV vs. TAM: From cost cutting to corruption...

By Noor Fathima Warsia
Monday,Aug 06, 2012
 0 0

While NDTV's decision to move a New York State court against TAM Media Research and its parent companies Nielsen and Kantar left the industry in shock, what created further uproar were the details mentioned in NDTV's preliminary statement that point at corruption, leading to data manipulation, at the agency.

The Indian advertising and media industry is concerned but they are taking their time in accepting the 194-page statement at face value.

The key aspects that form part of this statement are as follows:
• The coming together of Nielsen and Kantar has created a monopoly, due to which NDTV, like other stakeholders, has had no choice but to rely on TAM Media Research data.

• Lack of funding by Nielsen, and one of the reasons attributed to this is cost avoidance measures to maintain revenues, has led to no investment towards increasing sample sizes to adequate levels. Another cost cutting method is to place the 'Nielsen Process' that is used to data gathering in markets, such as India, Philippines and Turkey, without making suitable adjustments for local conditions.

• That data is corrupted not just by lack of adequate sample size but also by lack of security.

• Nielsen and Kantar failed to follow their global standards and the basic tenets of corporate governance in India.

• NDTV has suffered the damages as a direct result of TAM's separate and distinct acts and omissions.

• Low ratings for NDTV channels led to "loss of hard earned reputation along with damage to profitability due to low ad revenues". This has damaged NDTV's brand value and has led to a decline in NDTV's share price from Rs 501 from January, 2008, to Rs 25.7 in December, 2011.

• NDTV's battle with TAM over ratings had begun in 2004. When NDTV did not find TAM's response satisfactory, it took the matter to David Calhoun, the worldwide CEO of Nielsen in January 2012.

• Following this Nielsen global representatives Paul Donato, EVP and Chief Research Officer, Nielsen, and Robert Messemer, Chief Security Officer, The Nielsen Company, travelled to India to meet NDTV in January 2012.

• Nielsen and Kantar took control of events then and promised NDTV to address its complaints.

• At a meeting that took place on January 20, 2012, NDTV arranged to have a presentation by a whistleblower/Consultant, who provides services to track happenings on the ground with TAM panel and panel homes. This was evidencing the modus operandi around the manipulation of TV ratings, involvement of TAM staff at various levels in the entire chain of illegal activity, specific instances of data manipulation by the consultants for certain channels.

• The whistleblower also gave details on how the he managed to get a TAM PeopleMeter installed at his residence, despite being a part of the TV industry, and leaking an existing list of 34 PeopleMeter homes in the city of Bangalore (PeopleMeter homes are to be confidential).

• The Consultant's allegations relating to 34 homes were subsequently checked and verified to be correct by Nielsen's Robert Messemer.

• The Consultant also shared a copy of a check for Rs 85,000 ($1,700) that he had received as payment for one month, from another consultant hired by a competing channel, for being empanelled as a TAM panel home to allow manipulation to take place from his own home.

• The Consultant explained that TAM's sample size for 'news' was smaller, and as a consequence of this, news was an easier market for the consultants to work on, as fewer homes with PeopleMeters needed to be manipulated to make a significant impact. The Consultant pointed out that in the general entertainment segment, despite the sample size being larger than news, the sample is relatively small especially in relation to the large revenues generated by GECs, due to which corruption was rampant by channels and producers.

• Nielsen and Kantar have reported that, after a thorough investigation, the information provided by the Consultant was correct and that "he was very credible".

• On February 27, 2012, Donato assured NDTV that Nielsen would conduct a study comprising 25 homes in Mumbai and 25 homes in Bangalore.

• On April 3, 2012, a meeting was held between the NDTV representatives and two field staff employees of TAM. The TAM employees revealed that they were employed in Mumbai to look after, and collect data from, TAM meters. They stated they were willing to manipulate TAM ratings in Mumbai...They said by paying a bribe of $250 to $500 per household per month, TAM households could be made to watch only those channels which they insisted upon.

• This meeting was viewed by an external surveillance agency, which took photographs of the employees. Those photographs were shown to Robert Messemer in New Delhi on April 27, 2012.

• On April 11, 2012, Donato reported Nielsen's and Kantar's findings after a 60-day study. Nielsen admitted the claims of NDTV, including the following systemic anomalies resulting in corrupt TAM data:

1) Over 50 per cent of the panel homes were unaware that their addresses and details ought to be confidential and they were supposed to report back to TAM in case anybody unknown contacted those panel homes.
2) The average age of a panel home was 2.7 years, which indicated no turnover at all.
3) The sample size of homes for measuring English news and business viewership was small.
4) About 48 per cent of the homes surveyed in Delhi and Mumbai (54 homes were surveyed) were outlier homes, that is, the viewership was abnormal and did not fit in with overall trends for the target audience.

• In the same meeting, according to NDTV's statement, Eric Salama, Kantar's global CEO questioned Messemer regarding the investigation. Messemer admitted that that there was a serious problem in TAM India. NDTV's statement said, "He said, in the presence of about 15 people, that right through his professional career he has been called in to put out many 'fires' across the world for Nielsen, but so far he had never seen anything like this 'absolutely shocking and unf*****g believable' corruption at Nielsen and TAM in India."

• The statement said that Salama apologised and assured NDTV officials that suitable action would be taken.

• The primary remedial measure required was the discontinuation of publication of data until there was an increase of sample size from 8,000 to 30,000 and immediately increased security measures. To date no such remedial measures have been taken.



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pprerna18-Nili-SalluTheUllu.vrshn.Angel4KMH.BI...vibha...ArjuhisisTheEmpressmoonkmh

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 4:35am | IP Logged
Hmm,mujhe thoda sa kuch kuch samajh main aya. Bt i didnt knw dat rating nly based upon 8000home. Kaha 100crore populatn ki country aur kaha sirf 8000 tv set ye tam decide kar raha hai.

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 4:57am | IP Logged
OMG u dint know that?Shocked iski toh humari kitni discussions ho rahe hote the ki sirf 7000 houses in the metros decide on the show's popularity on TRP chartsAngry hum toh count hi nahi hote despite living in IndiaDead that is why karan n kritika only went to those places where TRP is taken from!!! very unfair system we have in IndiaOuch

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.vrshn....vibha...sreeja_rox

pprerna18 Senior Member
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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 5:17am | IP Logged
well..i did'nt know that either...
it is indeed unfair...
 
Thanks for sharing shibz...

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shibz

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 5:24am | IP Logged
I didn't get it Confused

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shibz

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 5:50am | IP Logged
@Amira it says that from the last few years certain big channels/producers have been bribing the owners of the TAM company and the addresses of houses installed with people-o-meter which is supposed to be kept confidential is given out and these are bribed to keep the TV switched ON at certain channels/programs so that the TRPs are high for those shows..NDTV has noticed a downfall hence and after a lot of research has filed case against the TAM company..

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pprerna18Arjuhi_kk.vrshn....vibha...Arjuhisissreeja_rox

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 5:59am | IP Logged
Omg i didnt know about this !!!!!Angry I seriously have never been liking all the big channels frankly...no wonder they have high trps for all it's show's!!!!

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Posted: 10 August 2012 at 6:12am | IP Logged
Originally posted by shibz

<font color="#666666" face="Comic Sans MS, Times, serif">OMG u dint know that?Shocked iski toh humari kitni discussions ho rahe hote the ki sirf 7000 houses in the metros decide on the show's popularity on TRP chartsAngry hum toh count hi nahi hote despite living in IndiaDead that is why karan n kritika only went to those places where TRP is taken from!!! very unfair system we have in IndiaOuch
</font>

thanx shibz ji for d info. No wondr dats d reasn our kitni got low trp n sm crap show doing so gud. Ndtv's fyt has so much meaning. I miss imagn nw though i hate it;-(

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