Audience measurement organisations
Neither on the official website of the Lebanese Ministry of Information, nor on the page of the Ministry of Telecommunications it is possible to find available data on radio and TV audience.
Since 1999, IPSOS, an international leading media measurement company, has been providing complete Television Audience Measurement (TAM) data to the Lebanese market. IPSOS has the almost absolute monopoly on statistics on audience measurement in the country, a monopoly only partially broken in 2012 by the German market research company GFK Media Research. Being IPSOS funded primarily by LBCI (the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation), there is a clear conflict of interest in this matter. In fact, in October 2014, five television stations (MTV, Future TV, NBN, al-Jadid and Téle-Liban) decided to withdraw from IPSOS surveys, tired of its “inaccurate ratings” and of what they described as the company’s “opaque” measures and relationships with LBCI. The latest report produced by IPSOS on the Lebanese TV Audience Measurements dates back to 2016 with key findings highlighting the growing penetration among the country and the time spent by the users, compared to the previous years. No other reports are available after 2016.
In addition to this, the provision of TAM meters throughout the entire country cannot take into account demographic changes, due to the scarcity of national statistics on population and its distribution (the last official census in Lebanon was conducted in 1932). As a direct consequence, representative audience samples can hardly be obtained. As media expert Sara El-Richani points out, the unreliability of the figures on audience depends also on the limited number of TAM meters in the country. In fact, these devices, primarily for security reasons, are absent from densely populated area, such as Hezbollah strongholds in the Southern suburbs of Beirut or in the South of Lebanon, or the Palestinian camps.