x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Calls for transparency with TV audience 'people meters'

A proposed system to measure TV audiences will boost advertising revenues only if the system is trusted and independently audited, executives say.

A proposed system to measure TV audiences in the UAE will boost advertising revenues only if the system is trusted and independently audited, say local executives.

A "people meters" system, which will collect TV viewing information from selected residences, is under development thanks to an agreement between local companies and the National Media Council.

It will be used to determine total audiences and viewer habits across the entire nation, providing information that will enable media agencies and clients to allocate advertising budgets.

"I'm pretty confident the TV advertising will grow," said Dr Martin Fabel, a media consultant at AT Kearney Middle East. "TV clearly needs to catch up … The key reason is lack of transparency, which boils down to the lack of people meters."

Nick Grande, the managing director of ChannelSculptor, a television consultancy in Dubai, said "independent research into viewing numbers has been desperately required for years".

But he also said the research must be trustworthy. "The issue has always been whether it's independent … It's very important that whoever is doing it can be relied upon," he said.

bflanagan@thenational.ae