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Japan-based TV ratings firm vies for Thai contract

Although opinions in the media industry on a new standard for TV audience ratings remain mixed, some digital-television broadcasters are likely to be interested in offers from new research agencies.

"We want to make sure that we can get involved in the process of TV audience measurement, from planning and implementation to auditing. So we need an alternative, on top of the current one," Suphap Kleekachai, president of the Digital TV Club and chief adviser at Thai TV, the operator of ThaiTV and Loca channels, said yesterday.

Suphap made the remark after meeting with Video Research International (Thailand) and high-ranking executives from other digital TV stations. Japan-based Video Research International is among three high-potential bidders for a national TV rating service. Nielsen (Thailand) and GFK MarketWise Thailand are the other two.

Suphap and some executives from commercial stations agreed with some of the benefits offered by Video Research International, as it would welcome all digital-TV players as stakeholders like in Japan's media industry.

At the meeting, Taro Tanaka, managing director of Video Research International (Thailand), said his company would not just provide the raw data of TV audience ratings, it would also provide the best solutions for adding value for each client based on those data.

"Apart from data accuracy and transparency, the company also provides know-how on using the data for their content marketing and development," Tanaka said.

The company also has new technology for measuring TV ratings via different kinds of viewing such as out-of-home, on-demand, time-shift, multi-screens and social links. But if this new technology were included in the contract, the investment would be 50 per cent higher than for standard audience measurement for in-home viewing alone.

"The industry must make a decision on this matter as an industry consensus," he said.

Last month leading media-industry players, cable/satellite TV operators and the 24 digital terrestrial TV broadcasters initiated a Media Research Bureau (MRB), which will be responsible for setting a new standard of TV audience measurement and holding an auction to select a national rating service. This bureau would draft terms of reference for the bidding for a national TV rating agency.

Although the MRB has been completely set up yet, the industry wants a survey sample size of 5,000 households, while Video Research International believes that 2,000 households would be enough for the national survey.

Tanaka added that if this were the industry consensus and his company were selected, his team was ready to provide the best solution, but the cost of the service might almost double if the sample size was more than 2,000.

With a bigger sampler size, however, the industry would be able to get more details in terms of specific or segmented TV programme ratings, he added.


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