Mumbai : In the absence of any television ratings, media planners and advertisers are still using the TAM data discreetly for the current Indian Premier League (IPL) season that started on 7th April.
As much as Rs 1,000-1,200 crore of on-air advertising money has been pumped in by 12 sponsors and other advertisers to Multi Screen Media (MSM), the official broadcaster of the T20 cricket tournament. The lack of any metric to evaluate the viewership of the ongoing cricket extravaganza can spin their marketing plans out of orbit.
In March, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) sent a circular to its members to unsubscribe from TAM data and every media agency followed suit.
So, while TAM data for the first week of IPL 2015 showed a 41% higher television rating compared with the first week of the tournament in 2014, no media agency could validate it.
Rohit Gupta, president of MSM, ruled out any impact because of this. “IPL is a mature property. Ratings are stable and don’t fluctuate during this period. Advertisers know what they are buying. There is no problem,” he said.
“At the moment, for IPL as well as for other properties, we are planning based on extrapolation of past data. All clients are aware of that,” said Basabdatta Chowdhuri, chief executive at Platinum Media, which is part of the Madison Media Group.
“The reporting of return on investment to clients will happen only after BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council, which is set to launch a new television ratings system) rolls out its data at the end of this month,” she said. The rating for the first week of IPL 8 (first five games) was 4.4, compared with 3.1 for six matches in the first week of the tournament’s previous edition, broadcasting sources said, citing TAM data.
The opening match this year, between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, had a rating of 5.4 compared with 4.4 in the season opener in 2014. The cumulative reach of the IPL has risen from about 100 million in its first edition in 2008 and 160 million in IPL 4 to 191.4 million in its seventh edition in 2014.
IPL’s official broadcaster, MSM, has already sold more than 95% of the tournament’s advertising inventory and earned a minimum 20% increment over the 2014 edition, media planners said.
“Therefore, it is important to validate the ratings and the numbers to the clients and marketers. And since BARC has yet to come up with any ratings, everyone is still using the TAM data discreetly,” said a top media buyer on the condition of anonymity.
In the meantime, the AAAI has suggested a formula to advertisers and media buyers, to arrive at gross rating point (GRP) by extrapolating past TAM IPL data. GRP doesn’t measure the size of the audience reached, but quantifies the target audience in percentage terms. Television ratings point (TRP) can give more accurate data on the number of audiences.
“We are yet to lock this formula. But even if we were to follow this, it would mean GRP-only planning and so many clients are still referring to the TAM data,” said a media buyer. The AAAI technical team is expected to implement this formula in association with the tech team of BARC. It is currently trying to mitigate the current challenges and flesh out a process for arbitration and agreement across the industry.