Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why need to study feedback?

Relevance of ratings:

- Why is so little spent for researching viewership pattern more reliably, transparently,
representatively and specific to the unique socio-economic-media milieu of the

- Despite "viewership ratings" having devastating influence on the content priorities,
schedules of channels, and even their very viaibility, there is no independent
assessment of the methodology being followed, its larger relevance and objectivity.

- The ratings have come into being to guide advertisers optimize their spend. Instead
of limiting for such an internal exercise, the ratings have become the benchmark for
setting the very priorities of TV and programmes of channels in the country - as if
what interests viewers momentarily and what is in the interest of people is same!

- Measuring momentary viewing could be a first step for a more reliable understanding
of viewership. But is mere "set - on or not" good enough for considering it as
viewing?. Is that always same as "preferred" or "liked" viewershp?.

- Such "instant viewership" could have limited relevance for a larger and reliable

- It is said that these ratings have inhibited original Indian creative genius and plurality
to come to fore, in different regions of the country as channels are made to "fall in


- The exercise should be transparent and representative such a way that channels of all size and regions and programmes, get fair chance in the rating. Now they are said to be advantageous more to big channels.

- The so-called "people meter" and its efficiency in capturing viewership of every one in a family, reliably and consistently has not been transparently validated. To what extent variation during "on and off" of buttons of "people meter" alter the reliability of ratings? What is the extent of compliance of "on" and "off" of specified button among different age groups and socio-economic households?.

- Similarly, how relevant and reliable are the ratings for news bulletins of general TV channels and "news channels" as compared to "entertainment" channels/programmes?

2- How can something become the benchmark or yardstick for the country without covering and reflecting rural India?

- By getting the cooperation of a few "active households" belonging to certain sections can these ratings be generalized to large section of "passive viewers"?.

- That is how there is a view that TRPs have hijacked TV in India with an altogether different priorities than what the potential of TV is for India.

- Some even say that TV channels are not able to get out of the trap of TRPs


- If ratings for viewership are objective, how could there be conflicting claims by competitors sighting same source?. Each channel is interpreting ratings as it suits and",publicizing the way it suits even if it means mis-presenting.

The Agencies:

- The agency conducting ratings should be independent from the interests of advertisers
and advertising agencies and individual channels.

- Who are these agencies conducting TRP? What is their origin and identity? As is said
"where is their head and tail"?. Is there any conflict of interests with their

- Should there be only one measurement or should there be competition between rating
agencies – even it amounts more spending.
Should there be independent regulation?:

- The reliability of viewership ratings in the present system for small and regional
language channels cannot be the same as for the big and national channels?. As a
result these channels, including Doordarshan channels, are being put to a
disadvantage in the competitive scenario.

- Ratings are more an outcome and result of "aggressive marketing" by big channels
and in fact, rating exercise and the outcome has become more part of "PR strategy" of

- Why regulatory authority has not yet addressed the phenomena of TRPs?. Should
TRAI be looking into rating issues too. Even more important is viewing households
should know more about these "ratings" practice so that they could more actively
participate in the process.


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