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Peace breaks out after India's TV ratings war

A bitter dispute over television audience measurement data has been resolved by India's broadcasters, advertisers, agencies, and ratings measurement company, who have all agreed that television viewership in thousands (TVT) is the new way forward.

TVT is a method of measurement that captures and reflects growth in TV audiences countrywide in absolute numbers. Channel ratings in India will be measured this way by Mumbai-based research company TAM and issued to the public.

For internal evaluation, including media planning and buying, the percentage of television ratings (TVR) weekly will also be available to advertisers, advertising agencies and, if they so wish, broadcasters.

There will also be an option to have TVT as a four-week rolling average, provided each week. This rolling average is statistically more stable viewership data, especially for smaller audiences of niche channels, such as regional language channels, English language programmes and news.

TAM will make all future audience measurement changes based on inputs from the joint-industry BARC Technical Committee, the three constituent members – Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) – have agreed.

Man Jit Singh, IBF president, said he was "delighted" with the outcome.

"We believe it is important for the industry, and from the perspective of our social responsibility, we must reflect both the growing television audience and the data in a more stable and useful manner. We want to thank AAAI and ISA in collaborating and working out a solution acceptable to all constituents," he said.

The disagreement between the parties escalated some weeks ago when seven broadcasters announced they would opt for monthly, rather than weekly ratings to better reflect their audience numbers. India's top 20 advertisers responded by threatening to pull their advertisements from television if weekly ratings were no longer used.

"Getting weekly TVR% is important for media planners and buyers to effectively plan and buy ad-spots and do mid-plan course corrections and post-facto analysis," said Arvind Sharma, AAAI president.

"We are glad that we have been able to agree that the agencies and advertisers will have access to this data as in the past. From tomorrow, we look forward to being able to focus back on our clients' businesses and effective planning and buying for their brands."

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