Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is it Incredulous manipulation of viewership data on SUN TV

I was a TV junkie during my college days and used to watch movies however crap they may be and used to follow TV and news related information in internet.I have followed the TRP data,incredible growth story of Sun network.Well we have seen Satyam cooking up its account books,but this is something scientific beyond my imagination.
I used to check www.indiantelevision.com for the latest TRP ratings.Tamil audience unlike rest of the country have very few options because of language constraint.So naturally regional channel will get more viewership than the national channels.The television advertising industry is based on TRP ratings.These ratings are provided by TAM(Television advertising and Marketing).Sun TV always have TRP of .5 to 1.5 and in case of popular serials it touches 2.While extremely popular movies will have TRPs as high as 3.Now the TAM ratings are provided by AC Nielsen an internationally recognized company on taking surveys.But then you have to take that with a pinch of salt.
For instance in 2001 they claimed that DMK is going to retain power by winning 140 seats while Karunanidhi lost nearly 100 MLAs and AIADMK+ alliance won 196 seats out of 234 seats.In 2007 they released a controversial survey which split the Sun and the Son.Dinakaran a daily newspaper published a survey just 1% was interested in Azhagiri becoming CM while Stalin was way ahead and even Dayanidhi Maran had 5% votes which makes it interesting.Now they might have conducted a survey the results are usually cooked up in psephology.Dr.Prannoy Roy who gave the exact number of seats in 1989 said it was a fluke.Now coming to the issue in hand,the trp ratings published have changed drastically.Sun TV which used to have top 100 programs across the country suddenly disappeared from this list.Now I checked the disclosures and on 7th Feb they have disclosed that they have no relation with Kalaignar TV by any means.This was clarified after the stock fell 20% on the bourses on panic selling by long term investors.

Everyone thought that it was because of this story(click on the link to read) story by Economic times that prompted the fall.But If you check the date it was released on 4th Feb 2011.The fall on Sun TV was on 7th Feb.Everyone knows that Kalaignar TV has no business connections whatsoever with Sun TV considering the fact that Kalaignar TV was created as a propaganda machinery by Kalaignar Karunanidhi to replace Sun TV a listed entity.A clarification was issued to the exchanges to confirm this.So what prompted the fall?

I don't want to speculate on what happened behind the scenes.But my case lies on the following images.These are taken from IndianTelevision.com which is providing TAM ratings from as early as 2004 or perhaps 2001.TAM data is released after 15 days of a week ending.Its the recognized data for advertisers.Though there is aMap its never recognized though used for reference purposes.

This is snapshot of the TRP details of Sun TV week ending 15th Jan,22 Jan,29 Jan and Mar 3 . Also top 100 programs are also listed.

This is the latest TRP details and Sun tv is featuring on it

Now this post has no prejudice or casting aspersions on Sun TV but this is potentially serious issue.The TRP data for the week ending 29th Jan might have been available on 7th Feb and the stock falling 20% and never recovered from that to previous levels.Sun TVs main revenue stream is advertisements and advertisers local,national,multinational always refer to this data and if Sun TV is not included in this its serious issue for the prospects of the company and its shareholders.The company CFO Ajay VidyaSagar has quit the company.Now one cannot argue that may be regional channels are not watched that much.So there might be a drop in viewership.Perhaps for you to stop doubting that I haved added Zee Marathi and Zee Bengali which are regional channels.Remember the TV penetration in south is way way higher than any other region.So no fooling around yourself.May be the survey sample is changed perhaps yes but then what abt the earlier sample?So either Sun TV is coking up its viewership details by colluding with AC Nielsen or IndianTelevision.com is lying.You choose which is plausible