When CNN IBN and Times Now confused us with claims on ratings
Voices Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | May 23, 2014 | 07:25 am IST As we were watching news on Thursday, we couldn't help notice that half of the screen space on Times Now was showing ratings the channel received for election coverage. There were headlines, tickers and graphics popping up out of nowhere. Headline1- Record breaking viewership, twice the viewership of CNN IBN and thrice the viewership of NDTV. Headline 2- Times Now creates history. Headline 3- Times now demolishes competition, 908 TVTs of counting day, Times now Number 1 on all parametres. And it went on and on. Times Now dedicated three top headlines in almost every bulletin to trumpet their numbers and had a zillion promos on the same. We switched to CNN IBN and they had similar tickers thanking viewers. Ticker 1- When it matters- India turns to CNN IBN Ticker 2- India voted CNN IBN No.1 Ticker 3- Elections = CNN IBN. Now that confused us, so who was number one on counting day? Who was the most watched that week? We decided to investigate. To understand ratings and how it works, one needs to know the basics first. TAM or Television Audience Measurement that channels swear by (not NDTV- do a Google) is a specialised branch of media research and gives weekly ratings that measure how much TV a given population has consumed in a week. It is on the basis of these ratings that channels make claims of being the most watched. The ratings are given for various cities/towns, age groups and time bands. Most times channels just cull out one specific rating in which they lead to establish their supremacy. For example- if a particular channel's programme was most watched by a certain age group between 1- 7 pm, they may project only that specific rating to make claims of being ahead of others. they of course conveniently forget to tell us that they weren't watched that much during other time slots. It was not just in the English news space genre, the same battle was playing out in the Hindi space genre with ABP news and Aaj Tak claiming supremacy. This is one of the graphics Times Now put out. Look carefully. It says All India 1 mn+ | TG: CS M 25+ AB| TAM ratings are given for various age groups. So what Times Now is saying is that in towns/cities with more than one million people, Males above 25 (yes, males.. not females...we will write about that later) watched the channel the most. The channel has chosen a 24 hour rating and not taken out ratings given for any specific time. Male 25 is considered the ideal TG or Target Audience for English news channels as they are the 'decision makers'. Decoded- For 24 hours everyday in that week, males above 25 years of age living in towns/cities across India watched Times Now the most. CNN IBN seems to have taken the 15-54 year age group, thereby significantly increasing the Target Audience population taken into consideration as this would include students. Since there was no specific mention of the kind of cities/towns, this could mean that the ratings are for towns and cities with less or more than one million population. Decoded- During election week, between 6.00 am- 12.00 am, people ranging from 15- 54 years of age watched CNN IBN the most. So now you know the trick of the trade. Next time you see an advertisement on ratings, look at the line below and decode it.