New Latino-Wide Pay TV Study to Launch

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A new survey charting the consumer habits of pay TV viewersin Latin America promises to be more extensive than any other panregional study to date.

Kantar Media Research plans to begin its Target Group Indexstudy over the next few months in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, said Paul Donato, thecompany's CEO. Next year, Mexico, Chile and Puerto Rico will join the study, headded. The survey aims to build a complete consumer profile of pay TV viewers across theregion, including everything from automobile preferences to travel habits.

It will cover ground similar to that of an existing study,Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica. But TGI will aim to draw on a larger sample sizethan LMML, Donato said. While the most recent (1997) LMML study sampled almost 7,000people regionwide, TGI is aiming for a sample size of 5,000 respondents in each countrythat it surveys. TGI will also be more weighted toward gathering data on domesticproducts, while LMML focuses largely on panregional goods.

LMML is commissioned by an industry group of U.S.-basedprogrammers, known as the Television Association of Programmers Latin America (TAP). It iscarried out by New York-based media-research group Audits & Surveys, where Donato wasformerly senior vice president, media and communications.

With Latin America's pay TV business still largely inits infancy, the question is whether or not the region can support two panregionalconsumer surveys -- it couldn't support two panregional ratings services: Earlierthis year, the ratings services of the two former rivals became one when IbopeInternational acquired A.C. Nielsen's Latin American business.

There is a possibility that TGI and LMML will join forces,said executives from both camps. TAP member Turner Entertainment Networks International,for one, appears to be convinced of the merits of merging the two. "We would like tosee the two fold together. Kantar has deep pockets, it has the people with the experienceand it is really well-versed in research," said Charlotte Leonard, Turner'ssenior vice president and general manager.

Barbara Smela, who took over Donato'spost at A&S, is more cautious. "There's a possibility of working with Kantarand TGI. But we are looking at a variety of scenarios. We still don't know thespecifics of TGI and whether it fits in with Los Medios," she said. 

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