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TAM guidelines to stem India's TV ratings game

TAM, the Mumbai-based television measurement agency, has issued new guidelines to broadcasters in a bid to nip misleading claims over audience levels in the bud.

TAM has now listed the correct ways of using its data in an attempt to prevent channels from misrepresenting its findings in order to show themselves in a better light than their rivals, according to CNBC TV18's Money Control.

"All data is subject to the laws of statistics. Thus, small differences in viewership between channels should not be played up. The scope of error is more, when the sample size is small – especially in the case of niche channels like English news," says the TAM advisory.

"Thus, zero viewership does not mean that no one was watching – just that the sample size is too small to count. Viewership trends should be analysed on an eight-week average, and not weekly.

"Channels should focus on measuring relevant target audiences and avoid the rankings game, and finally, while making claims, broadcasters need to be transparent about all data specifics like markets, time and target group selected. Hopefully, the guidelines will help address the confusion caused by conflicting claims using the same source data," stipulates TAM.

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