| 21 Oct 2020
TAM Media Research vice president Pradeep Hejmadi - What matters is giving the market data that is sensitive enough to show change'

TAM India, progenitor of the Radio Audience Measurement study that has just been rolled out, kept a studied silence while the broadcasters interpreted the results they day they were announced on 31 October.

TAM Media Research vice president Pradeep Hejmadi spoke to's Aparna Joshi to explain the nuances of the results.


What has been the picture that has emerged from the first RAM results?

In each of the three markets, the quantum of listening among the top three stations looks very different. For example, where the number of stations is smaller like Mumbai, the share of the top three stations is more concentrated. Also, interesting segregations come through where there is some kind of content differentiation. We also find some interesting profile differences between the markets, where certain stations have very distinct FPCs, like those who have a distinct language flavour as against the plain vanilla ones.

Now that you have a consumption measure, people can now start carving their strategies in the broadcast planning space. So far, it's been driven by creative than by consumer behavior.

What I felt a bit personally disappointed was that interesting stuff that came out as against what conventional wisdom has been suggesting, never came to the surface in the initial reactions.

Also interesting is the fact that week on week, you see behavioural differences for stations, depending on the changes they have made. The response to creative skews has been encouraging. We as a company are now trying to get a lot of backgrounder information on the content space. We are trying to source, say, the kind of playlists people are playing to start merging it with listening data.

Broadcasters, who have been with us, are now developing solid templates to analyse the data, and that will build the business on a strong fundamental. It also helps that talent has gone from television has gone to radio has taken that bent of mind there. Now that the content creators will know exactly what is working for which TG, it will ultimately help the listener.

Media professionals, who are users of this data, understand the implications and will always cross check claims before putting their money on it. Such reactions were bound to happen. If research results come out once a week, it will happen once a year. If they come out every week, it can happen every week. The good thing is that people will now be able to contextualise and help them learn.

Even on the television side, we don't just stop at numbers. We help people make decisions. And it's started from day one on radio, with people already evaluating their content strategies basis the data that's out. They are looking at RJs, at what the RJs are saying on air, the playlists....

Did you release the first four weeks of data, by design?

Yes, we did. Putting the four weeks of data in Delhi and Mumbai and three weeks in Bangalore will help people in comparing statistics and seeing the week on week changes.

Henceforth, we will release the data every week. We wanted to make sure that we could show people trends, not just the numbers.

Was there any intention to show 'a clear leader emerging from the data'?

Why should it matter to us as a syndicated research provider? We are measuring audience preferences. Even when we started in the TV space, the objective was never to label any station as number one or two. What matters is doing the research correctly, giving the market data that is sensitive enough to show change. It's actually helping the industry to evaluate their returns on investment. The numbers game may matter to advertisers', to broadcasters to have a notion of where they stand. We just empower them to do frequent audits.

What were the listenership patterns that have emerged from the results?

Out of home listening is far more significant than with television, naturally. Our establishment survey had shown that the anytime, anywhere consumption of radio is huge, with nearly 80 per cent of people owning a portable listening device, the ability to consume on the move was very large.

The largest OOH is in Bangalore, followed by Mumbai and then Delhi, overall around 15 per cent. This is skewed towards males, and skewed towards the younger population when it comes to Bangalore.

In home listening is balanced between males and females.The wake up hours are very pronounced in Bangalore, starting with a jump around 6 am, and sloping off later. It also seems to be beautifully complementing television, rather than competing with it.
Mumbai peaks a little later in the mornings and peaks around 10 am, but is lower in terms of absolute reach. Delhi peaks a little earlier around 9 am.

Does the data support conventional wisdom that evening drive times are the prime times?

Evening drive times are not such a large quantum, probably because it's not an universal corridor, but it's a broader corridor.
People leave places of work around a larger time period, so there isn't a prominent peak as there is in the mornings. So, morning out of home ' travel time' listening is much higher.

The evening graphs are much flatter. The interesting thing is that at home, a lot of listening happens on personal devices. We realised that we saw that in Mumbai, the weekday and weekend listening patterns were quite similar, though the overall thresholds had dropped.

It means that once the medium has crept into your life, it stays with you, weekdays and weekends. The pattern is similar in Mumbai and Delhi, but very different in Bangalore. The rules of listening seem to be intrinsic and locally driven.

Did it also show up how differentiated content on niche stations is being consumed?

It did show up in terms of skews, the SEC levels, age and gender skews too. The larger players who play to the masses, are uniformly popular. Some stations that target particular groups do have a skew, so they have got something right. It could be language, in markets where it matters or selection of music. There are spikes coming in for promotional gigs done, and prominent changes when winners of contests are being announced. But these spikes are not long lasting.

What were the kind of teething problems you faced?

People from the panel wanted station names written in local languages, whereas we had initially felt that the English logo and frequency number would suffice. In Bangalore, we had to get diaries done in four languages, English, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. The Bangalore profiles were tougher to recruit, there are several DINKs whose work profiles are different and getting compliance checks was a tough task. We had targeted 11 weeks for the process of recruiting, counseling, training and reporting - this process took us 14 to 15 weeks in Bangalore. The control parameters were also more in Bangalore. It was relatively faster process in Delhi, but Mumbai was also pretty tricky.

But we didn't want to launch till we were very sure, because it's going to be the currency, a continuous study. The broadcasters were also very supportive.

How does this help the retailer, who is supposed to help radio advertising in a big way in the coming days?

We were told that corporate advertising is going to be big for the next two to three years for the mega metros.

As you go into the smaller markets, retail activation will become critical. We have the ability to start zonal sampling in the future. For a retailer, the zonal sample will be important. We have the ability to increase samples in certain geographical pockets, when the industry reaches that stage of growth. But retailers will also have to be educated.

So, is Kolkata ready to roll next?

We will begin field work in Kolkata next. We are also evaluating Chennai, Hyderabad.