The rapid growth in the number of TV channels has, as Torin Douglas points out “Multichannel TV must trigger shake-up of the ratings system” (MW November 20), already led to audience fragmentation and difficulty in determining audience sizes.
Since The Box logs all phone requests for tracks and, with 3.5 million people calling between June 96 to June 97, we know we have people watching. But exactly how can a buyer know what cable channels are adding to their media mix?
Cable channels provide buyers with relevant environments which are tightly targeted – but can research?
The cable CATv survey by RSMB gives a good indication on viewing habits, albeit similar to the radio industry’s Rajar, it cannot provide actual spot by spot viewing figures;
TGI carries main cable channels and is useful for profile analysis;
BARB is surveying the main five cable channels but the panel is small, cannot be used for determining viewing among tighter demographics and is still in its embryonic stage.
These provide good insight into channel relevance and effectiveness.