Organised by Nokia Music Connects (a joint initiative between Hong-Kong based Music Matters and Indiantelevision.com's Radioandmusic.com), the Indian Music Forum 2011 brought together decision-makers of popular music channels to discuss the business of music and its consumption.
A discussion on GRPs(Gross Rating Points) emerged out of one of the discussions wherein, Arvind Krishnan, director, marketing, Bacardi, said, "Audience response tells us that we're doing something right with the positioning of our brand and its association with 'The Dewarist' and in that sense the GRPs havea great deal to tell and that certainly makes them significant."
To this, Aditya Swamy, channel head, MTV India, commented, "GRPs are necessary for advertisers because it guarantees return on investment. But we can also provide them with other ways to measure ROI. It's not only about how many ratings you could get for your TV shows, you've to account for how many YouTube views it got, how many times it trended on twitter, how many downloads on mobile, how many gigs you did, how much money you collected from the gigs, how many CDs were sold; all of that is the measure of success."
It's not all about ratings, Swamy added, because he feels that ratings is a very uni-dimensional way of looking at success foryour advertiser because MTV is not a single-screen business but a multi-screen business.
But Neeraj Vyas, executive vice-president and business head, Sony Max and Sony Mix has a different stand on this issue. For their eight weeks old music channel, Sony Mix, he believes they deliver milk in the morning and whisky in the evening, in terms of their programming. "At the end of the day, the evaluation boils down to GRPs. But if we had more clients who would consider the other ways of getting ROI, we would be very happy indeed."
On other ways of evaluating ROI, Krishnan elucidated that 'The Dewarist' which is aired on Star World has got 50,000 mobile views and a million views online. These are all ways of measuring success as well."
Gitanjali Sriram, founding partner, Naked Communications, concedes and says, "Crowd funding model is a trend for all of us to see. Brands need to take some brave steps now because the eternal 'me too' and 'follow on' models are not great anymore."
She simultaneously mentions that there are brands who'll always question you whether the GRPs equal to the sale of a product in monetary terms. She gives an instance of a client, P&G China, and how they had raised a question that if it's only getting eyeballs, how does it affect their brand?
To that affect, Swamy states that you can't do too much of one thing. He says, "It's always different strokes for different folks. To produce a show like MTV Unplugged, you spend Rs 30-40 lakh per episode. It's a heavy business model and therefore something other than the ratings has to be delivered to the advertisers. At the same time, stuff that delivers ratings, like MTV Roadies, has to be produced. You need to maintain a balance to run a business."
He ended on a futuristic note that in five years from now, all kinds of niche programming will move to subscription revenue model and that would shape the ad revenue model in the years to come.