Singapore -- For the first time, ACNielsen Corp. has
assessed cable and satellite viewership in its Asian Target Markets Survey, which
previously concentrated only on the print media.
Despite a positive response from the networks that
commissioned it, there is a strong call for consistent Peoplemeter data across the
Asia-Pacific region, and some are pushing for the uphill task of measuring effectiveness
beyond mere ratings.
In a sense, the results confirmed the findings of Asia
Market Intelligence's PAX report, another panregional study of affluent viewers who
receive cable and satellite channels.
When ATMS respondents were asked when they last watched the
20 satellite-delivered channels in the survey -- and which ones they could actually
receive -- the top ranking channels, in descending order, were HBO Asia, Discovery Channel
Asia, CNN International, National Geographic Channel, MTV and Star Sports. Interestingly,
MTV's main rival, Channel [V], ranked 11th.
Conducted in Hong Kong; Singapore; Taipei, Taiwan; Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; and Jakarta, Indonesia, ATMS
used a representative sample of 11,000 affluent consumers and top management
professionals. ATMS' target markets are somewhat different than those of PAX, and unlike
PAX, it conducts face-to-face rather than telephone interviews.
While the face-to-face method enables the surveyors to use
channel logos to aid viewer recall, it also has its drawbacks. For one, it's easier to
reach a larger base of respondents over the phone. Still, channel executives see
significant benefits in ATMS.
"As a regionally accepted and well established print
survey, it means that we can compare print to TV viewing using similar benchmarks,"
said Star TV research director Julie Peterson. "As a planning tool, it is useful in
Southeast Asia in the absence of Peoplemeter data, and also to measure highly targeted
However, Peterson noted that in markets where Peoplemeter
data exists -- mainland China, Taiwan and India -- there is a big difference between the
metered results and the findings of surveys such as ATMS.
"In Taiwan, for example, Star Chinese Channel
consistently outperforms other commercial cable channels according to the Peoplemeters,
whereas recall surveys tend to favor internationally branded channels," she said.
Satellite-delivered channels are working with research
companies to develop Peoplemeter ratings surveys for Hong Kong, Korea and the Philippines,
she added. "We fully expect to see meter panels in most countries within the next two
years," Peterson said.
CNBC Asia president Paul France said his channel hopes a
sufficient number of programmers and other companies looking for additional research will
give their support to a regional Peoplemeter panel. He expects that panel to be
established by the middle of next year.
Discovery Channel Asia research director Pauline Wong said
metered ratings should be used to complement ATMS affluent-minded findings. "Networks
need to use all the techniques available, as real impact is so difficult to measure in a
quantifiable way," she said.