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November 08, 2020 | Dr. Gowhar Rasool

Economics Behind Tempting – TRPs

TRPs provides the count of the people, their socio-economic background and the duration for which a channel or a particular programme is being viewed

Orchestrated shows, brawling anchors and unbeknown journalistic lyrics “Drug do, drug do, drug do, mujhe drug do”, a new normal for TV journalism that has turned out to be ubiquitous and holy grail for news “producers”. It’s all about your attention and attention is all we need! While the media houses were busy sensationalizing Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide and airing toxicity, a different music echoed from the city of Bollywood earlier this month when the chief of Mumbai police claimed that Republic TV and two Marathi channels -Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi manipulated   TRP. This entire scandal came into light when Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through its outsourcing agency Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were bribing households to watch particular channels and rigging TRP numbers. Why are media houses going gaga about TRPs...?The governing economics behind TRP reveals it all.

 

TRP and TRP Maths

TRP is an acronym for Television Rating Point. This metric indicates the popularity of a TV channel or a programme. In simple terms, TRPs provides the count of the people, their socio-economic background and the duration for which a channel or a particular programme is being viewed. Investors and advertisers depend on TRP to perceive the attitude of the people. Broadcast audience research council (BARC), is sanctioned to measure television audience in India. They have installed “BAR-O-meters” in over 44,000 empanelled households. This covers about 1.87 lakh individuals. Out of these about 40,000 homes are regularly monitored. The remaining 10 percent, or 4,000 meters, is needed to rotate the ‘panel’ of sample viewers periodically and replace sample viewers, every now and then. The BARC BAR-O-Meter meters keep a continuous log of TV viewership, TV station identification, and individual viewing through the use of two digital devices: one installed by the broadcaster (embedder) at the station head end/transmission site(s) and the other, referred to as the BAR-O-Meter that is installed on each TV set in the panel households. However, there has been criticism against this installation due to mere 45,000 installations as against the views of 20 crore television households. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended that the sample size should be enlarged to 60,000 by now and to 100,000 by the end of 2022.

Every person in a household has a separate ID and while watching a show, members of the household register their presence by pressing their viewer ID button. Thus the duration for which the channel was watched is captured. This helps in collecting data regarding viewership habits. The result of these calculations gives us TRP.

Viewer

Start

Stop

Total Time Viewed

 

Unique ID-A

20:30

20:45

15 mins

 

Unique ID-B

20:45

20:55

10 mins

   

Unique ID-C

20:35

20:40

5 mins

     

Unique ID-D

20:35

21:00

25 mins

             

                        Total duration of program = 30 mins; Total Respondents = 4

TRP = [(15/30 10/30 5/30 25/30)/4] X 100 = 45.83 TRP

 

Why does it matter?

Because it’s all about Money! Advertising is only effective if your intended audience sees your ad. Through the process of segmenting, targeting and positioning each commercial has predefined target audience which is most likely going to buy the advertised product or service. Based on the audience measurement data, ratings are fixed to various programmes on television. Thusly Television ratings impact programmes broadcasted. Better evaluations would promote a TV channel and its programmes while poor ratings will lead to its debilitation. As indicated by the TRP of a TV Channel or programme advertisers decide where to show their commercials.  Based on the TRP the advertisers are able to estimate the Cost-Per-Rating-Point (CPRP) which is critical in deciding the overall advertising budgeting and return on investment. CPRP is a characteristic figure which gives the media organizer a thought of the cost he/she is incurring to give the message to one single individual falling the TG (Target gathering).Every show on each channel has a TRP and the sum of all the TRPs is the GRP (Gross Rating Point). CPRP is the amount spent by the media buyer to achieve one rating point, which is the total spendings divided by the GRP. e.g. GRP (i.e. Sum of all TRPs) = 40 ; Advertising budget or amount spend  = Rs 3,00,000. Then CPRP = 3,00,000/40 = 7500.

 

Fight for the Pie

44 per cent (Rs 1.75 lakh cr) of the overall Indian media and entertainment industry market is attributed to the television market (Rs 77,800 crore, 2019), and the ad revenue is pegged at Rs 27000 crore. There are approximately 900 TV channels in India and nearly 50% of them televise news. 11-13 per cent, i.e. about Rs 2800-3400 crore ad revenue goes to these news channels (all languages). English news constitutes a very minuscule audience, not more than 0.02% of all the 80 crore television viewers of India. Hence the news studious are the new octagonal rings airing ugly fights for TRPs.  Noteworthy, that the viewers of English news channels form a lucrative segment because of their greater purchasing power, advertisers are tempted to target this segment and takeaway the big pie.

According to the Pitch Madison Advertising Report of 2020, TV is still the largest contributor to AdEx with a 37 percent share and it grew by 8 percent to Rs 25,291 crore in 2019. FMCG, Telecom and e-commerce companies have the highest spending on TV ads. In 2020, Television is expected to grow 7%, on the back of IPL, and Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) premium shows such as BigBoss. A 10-second advertisement slot on a news channel during election results could cost about INR 10 lakh. For a prime-time leading channel, the price varies between INR 2 lakh to 5 lakh, depending on the viewership on a regular day. It is the viewership, calculated in terms of TRP, which matters when it comes to advertisement revenue. This obsession for the money game that drives media houses into TRP scams. TRP scams per se are not new and have been reported earlier as well. Leading news magazines had done an exposé on how channels were rigging the system to boost their ratings. Subsequent exposés have repeatedly shown the same thing.  Surprisingly, in March 2018, it was same Hansa Research that filed a police complaint in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, accusing five people for manipulating TRPs. However, this time these accusations were met with yowls of acceptance from the competing news houses, antagonized public and sponsorship exits from Corporates like Parle and Bajaj and of course, equally blaring protests from those accused of manipulation. Now that the Pandora has opened the TRP box, the evils are bound to come out.

 

(Author is Assistant Professor, School of Business Studies, Central University of Jammu)

 gowhar@gmail.com

 

Archive
November 08, 2020 | Dr. Gowhar Rasool

Economics Behind Tempting – TRPs

TRPs provides the count of the people, their socio-economic background and the duration for which a channel or a particular programme is being viewed

              

Orchestrated shows, brawling anchors and unbeknown journalistic lyrics “Drug do, drug do, drug do, mujhe drug do”, a new normal for TV journalism that has turned out to be ubiquitous and holy grail for news “producers”. It’s all about your attention and attention is all we need! While the media houses were busy sensationalizing Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide and airing toxicity, a different music echoed from the city of Bollywood earlier this month when the chief of Mumbai police claimed that Republic TV and two Marathi channels -Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi manipulated   TRP. This entire scandal came into light when Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through its outsourcing agency Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were bribing households to watch particular channels and rigging TRP numbers. Why are media houses going gaga about TRPs...?The governing economics behind TRP reveals it all.

 

TRP and TRP Maths

TRP is an acronym for Television Rating Point. This metric indicates the popularity of a TV channel or a programme. In simple terms, TRPs provides the count of the people, their socio-economic background and the duration for which a channel or a particular programme is being viewed. Investors and advertisers depend on TRP to perceive the attitude of the people. Broadcast audience research council (BARC), is sanctioned to measure television audience in India. They have installed “BAR-O-meters” in over 44,000 empanelled households. This covers about 1.87 lakh individuals. Out of these about 40,000 homes are regularly monitored. The remaining 10 percent, or 4,000 meters, is needed to rotate the ‘panel’ of sample viewers periodically and replace sample viewers, every now and then. The BARC BAR-O-Meter meters keep a continuous log of TV viewership, TV station identification, and individual viewing through the use of two digital devices: one installed by the broadcaster (embedder) at the station head end/transmission site(s) and the other, referred to as the BAR-O-Meter that is installed on each TV set in the panel households. However, there has been criticism against this installation due to mere 45,000 installations as against the views of 20 crore television households. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended that the sample size should be enlarged to 60,000 by now and to 100,000 by the end of 2022.

Every person in a household has a separate ID and while watching a show, members of the household register their presence by pressing their viewer ID button. Thus the duration for which the channel was watched is captured. This helps in collecting data regarding viewership habits. The result of these calculations gives us TRP.

Viewer

Start

Stop

Total Time Viewed

 

Unique ID-A

20:30

20:45

15 mins

 

Unique ID-B

20:45

20:55

10 mins

   

Unique ID-C

20:35

20:40

5 mins

     

Unique ID-D

20:35

21:00

25 mins

             

                        Total duration of program = 30 mins; Total Respondents = 4

TRP = [(15/30 10/30 5/30 25/30)/4] X 100 = 45.83 TRP

 

Why does it matter?

Because it’s all about Money! Advertising is only effective if your intended audience sees your ad. Through the process of segmenting, targeting and positioning each commercial has predefined target audience which is most likely going to buy the advertised product or service. Based on the audience measurement data, ratings are fixed to various programmes on television. Thusly Television ratings impact programmes broadcasted. Better evaluations would promote a TV channel and its programmes while poor ratings will lead to its debilitation. As indicated by the TRP of a TV Channel or programme advertisers decide where to show their commercials.  Based on the TRP the advertisers are able to estimate the Cost-Per-Rating-Point (CPRP) which is critical in deciding the overall advertising budgeting and return on investment. CPRP is a characteristic figure which gives the media organizer a thought of the cost he/she is incurring to give the message to one single individual falling the TG (Target gathering).Every show on each channel has a TRP and the sum of all the TRPs is the GRP (Gross Rating Point). CPRP is the amount spent by the media buyer to achieve one rating point, which is the total spendings divided by the GRP. e.g. GRP (i.e. Sum of all TRPs) = 40 ; Advertising budget or amount spend  = Rs 3,00,000. Then CPRP = 3,00,000/40 = 7500.

 

Fight for the Pie

44 per cent (Rs 1.75 lakh cr) of the overall Indian media and entertainment industry market is attributed to the television market (Rs 77,800 crore, 2019), and the ad revenue is pegged at Rs 27000 crore. There are approximately 900 TV channels in India and nearly 50% of them televise news. 11-13 per cent, i.e. about Rs 2800-3400 crore ad revenue goes to these news channels (all languages). English news constitutes a very minuscule audience, not more than 0.02% of all the 80 crore television viewers of India. Hence the news studious are the new octagonal rings airing ugly fights for TRPs.  Noteworthy, that the viewers of English news channels form a lucrative segment because of their greater purchasing power, advertisers are tempted to target this segment and takeaway the big pie.

According to the Pitch Madison Advertising Report of 2020, TV is still the largest contributor to AdEx with a 37 percent share and it grew by 8 percent to Rs 25,291 crore in 2019. FMCG, Telecom and e-commerce companies have the highest spending on TV ads. In 2020, Television is expected to grow 7%, on the back of IPL, and Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) premium shows such as BigBoss. A 10-second advertisement slot on a news channel during election results could cost about INR 10 lakh. For a prime-time leading channel, the price varies between INR 2 lakh to 5 lakh, depending on the viewership on a regular day. It is the viewership, calculated in terms of TRP, which matters when it comes to advertisement revenue. This obsession for the money game that drives media houses into TRP scams. TRP scams per se are not new and have been reported earlier as well. Leading news magazines had done an exposé on how channels were rigging the system to boost their ratings. Subsequent exposés have repeatedly shown the same thing.  Surprisingly, in March 2018, it was same Hansa Research that filed a police complaint in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, accusing five people for manipulating TRPs. However, this time these accusations were met with yowls of acceptance from the competing news houses, antagonized public and sponsorship exits from Corporates like Parle and Bajaj and of course, equally blaring protests from those accused of manipulation. Now that the Pandora has opened the TRP box, the evils are bound to come out.

 

(Author is Assistant Professor, School of Business Studies, Central University of Jammu)

 gowhar@gmail.com

 

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