Television viewership will now be measured not on the basis of points, but absolute numbers, with the Television Rating Points (TRPs) giving way to Television Viewership in Thousands (TVTs).

After weeks of acrimonious negotiations and public blame-game, India’s broadcasters, advertisers, ad-agencies and Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Media Research — the sole agency which measures viewership — reached an agreement on Thursday. This, according to sources, is not a ‘perfect deal,’ will suffer problems, but ‘leaves everyone happy.’

TVT will capture viewership in absolute numbers. This is a way to address the complaints of television networks, who said that TRPs, measured in relative terms in points, did not accurately present the growth in viewership. TVTs will be the ‘sole currency’ in the public domain.

A statement issued by industry stakeholders said, “TVT rolling average will be provided every week.” This is ‘statistically more stable data.’ But for internal evaluation, the percentage of TVT rating weekly will be provided to advertisers and agencies. All future changes in audience measurement will be made based on inputs by a joint technical committee of the industry body, Broadcasting Audience Research Council.

The Hindu first reported that big television networks were planning to walk out of TAM system, and either unsubscribe or not renew their subscriptions, in early June. Since then, repeated negotiations led to a deal between big networks and TAM, on providing data on a monthly basis. This alienated the advertisers and ad-agencies. Thursday’s deal is an outcome of a new process of negotiations involving all stakeholders.

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