Measurement is coming to DTH, it appears. WPP owned Kantar Media will now measure the behavior and viewing habits of users on the News Corp owned Tata Sky DTH network in India, reports EFY. It’s a multi-year audience measurement contract, and data will be measured using RapidView, a “return path data technology” which collects audience data directly from set top boxes. Kantar will work with IMRB.
However, this is not going to be a census: Kantar and IMRB will take a panel based approach, signing up an opt-in panel. According to Kantar Media’s website, RapidView can even allow a census based approach, but since it hasn’t been deployed from the initial days of Tata Sky, it possibly has to take a panel based approach. The challenge with a panel versus a census is that smaller channels tend to lose out. It’s not clear how that return path will be established, since DTH set top boxes don’t come with a return path enabled. The product essentially targets TV operators, helping them with data for making “smarter business decisions in advertising sales, subscriber marketing and other areas.”
So it might that Tata Sky will use this data for their own usage, for understanding TV consumption patterns on their networks, and probably for pitching some of these analytics to advertisers on their own promotional channels, which load when you boot up the set top box. Else, Kantar Media really doesn’t need to partner with Tata Sky, if it plans to offer this as a solution for media planners to advertise on DTH. One can’t be too sure if this data won’t become public, though – also being also being plugged into the system via this partnership is a Kantar Media product called Infosys+, which, according to its website, has among its clients 400 TV stations, 200 advertising agencies and media buyers. So if this data is made available to media planners and advertising agencies, what does Tata Sky get out of it?
What is also needed is a return path for cable operators and other DTH players, especially with digitization of cable networks mandated.
On a different note, NDTV had sued Nielsen (and Kantar, and TAM) over ratings that they claimed were inaccurate and rigged. That case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, but the claims made by NDTV are worth a read – both the lawsuit and the claims of their unnamed whistleblower.