Audience measurement organisations
In the early years of Pakistan’s electronic media expansion, audience measurement was very much a work in progress.
Gallup Pakistan compiled statistics through a national TV ratings service. Gallup combined primary research from TV, newspaper, radio and social media.
Medialogic Pakistan was set up in 2006 to address the need of a burgeoning television industry for more detailed and timely data on programme popularity and audience demographics. Medialogic is an overnight TV ratings provider whose model includes television audience measurement (TAM) panel. The initial panel covering three cities was expanded first to five cities in 2010 and currently covers 20 cities with approximately 1,000 households, enabling coverage of urban population in many of Pakistan’s main cities. Medialogic data today helps media decisions by broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies across Pakistan.
In late 2014, Medialogic joined hands with the world’s leading TAM company, Kantar Media, replacing older meters with the latest generation RapidMeter to gauge the viewership patterns of the consumers more precisely.
The journey has not been without controversy. In September 2015, the Medialogic CEO claimed that a leading media group had indulged in malpractice and bribed Medialogic employees to increase its TV ratings. The CEO said the TV channel had profited by upto PKR450m from the altered TV ratings at the cost of the entire electronic media industry.
Even with more than 100 radio channels, there was no radio rating company working in Pakistan until 2014. This led to a lack of clarity on the listenership base. That changed in 2014 with the establishment of Radio Score, which introduced Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), a measurement tool that provided the industry with quantifiable parameters for their investment.
In 2017, Radio Score had 350+ devices installed in Pakistan across Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. This compared to only 150 devices in two cities in 2014. The expansion resulted in more radio channels coming on board; the total number in 2017 was 26.
The listenership data gathered by Radio Score is then transferred to internationally accredited tools like Kantar to gather accurate targetable audience information. Radio Score’s data is analyzed by the same software used by People’s Meter, enabling media planners and clients to evaluate both mediums side by side.
The radio stations were using the RAM data to chalk out the pricing strategy for their clients and media agencies. By March 2018, Radio Score extended its footprint to Gujranwala and Multan as well.
A frequent critique of the people meters project has been that the sample size is very small and therefore unrepresentative. However, getting a bigger sample, in more cities and the rural areas, requires a concerted stakeholder approach and for the industry to support the venture financially.