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TAM, Broadcasters To Compromise

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Broadcasters, who had pushed TAM Media to change from a weekly to a monthly release of audience figures are feeling the heat and may go back to the weekly arrangement. There have been frenetic behind-the-scenes negotiations between advertisers, broadcasters and ad agencies, and while no deal has been reached yet, those in the know in the industry said that by Wednesday (17 July), the broadcasters will accept a compromise and go back to TAM’s weekly audience figures.

“While advertisers can make an alternative media plan based on print and other platforms, recessionary conditions will not allow broadcasters to hold out for long,” an ad agency executive told BW on condition of anonymity.

The uneasy truce between the broadcasters, advertisers and ad agencies over how TAM Media audience measurement ratings will be circulated had broken down on Friday last (12 July) with as many as 25 large advertisers pulling out advertisements from television platforms. The advertisers who have decided to pull the plug include big names such as Hindustan Unilever (HUL), P&G, Dabur, Colgate and Marico.

Read Also: Broadcasters Go After TAM

The action by the advertisers follows a group of big TV  networks prevailing upon the rating agency TAM Media into releasing monthly audience figures instead of the earlier weekly norm followed by TAM. The broadcasters also got TAM to agree to release absolute audience numbers instead of the earlier percentage figures.

While broadcasters say that they have been forced to opt for the monthly ratings formula because TAM figures showed wild swings in the weekly format, advertisers point out that monthly ratings are meaningless as they cannot make a media plan or strategy with insufficient data.

In an unusual show of aggression, advertisers have hit back by cancelling advertising. However, TV channels have continued to play out ads as these are part of earlier contracts. Advertisers in turn have thought out their action for a long-term battle and have blocked fresh Release Orders (ROs) which they hope will bring the broadcasters to heel.

Among the big networks that had petitioned TAM for monthly data include Multi Screen Media (Sony), Zee Entertainment, Star India, Bag Films & Media, the Network18 Group and Times Global Broadcasting.