Sunday, March 4, 2012

100 Hour wastage on TV News Channels

As  soon as the seventh round of poll in the largest state of the country UP was over all news channels  started 100 hours  bombardment on pre – result analysis.  All the debates revolve around  the exit polls  carried out by various agencies . 

The credibility of these estimates based on past performance is doubtful.  One of the largest Marketing Research agency A.C. Nielsen was  even charged of unethical working by a publication house in the month of January this year. The three main charges levelled were :  

1. Abuse of Monopoly
2. Conflict of Interest....
3. Unethical Behaviour
4. Misleading Research

The charges levelled were based on the fact that this agency had accepted MR work from two competing firms and gave the  contradicting results, by giving favourable finding to both the companies. The  rival companies were also the media channels – TV Today and Star Network.  The agency involved was ACNielsen-ORG MARG.

After the controversy, a critic  Sudhish Pachauri slammed these polls, “Actually, such surveys are done to hide some facts and highlight some other kind of lies. In India, they do what they want to do, what they have decided already and plan the result accordingly. Such agencies work in a planned manner during elections in India in favour of one particular lobby, so that what they say harms the other lobby.”

This is the fact for the exit poll predictions as well.  The predictions of each channel match their ideology and not the survey outcome.  Star News  (AC Nielsen)  has given almost  a majority to Mulayam Sinh Yadav  and  more than 70 setas to BJP.  India TV also has given a much improved performance of BJP with  83 seats and close fight between SP and BSP. Pro congress channels – IBN7 and News Express  have tried to project  that for 3rd and 4th place there is very close fight between BJP and Congress.  BJP may slip to fourth position as well.

 Back in 2004, ACNielsen  did the survey for NDTV and forecasted a comfortable majority for the then ruling NDA.  Every one  knows the outcome. NDTV was controlled by the doyen of Indian psephology Prannoy Roy.

Later in 2007,  NDTV and Indian Market Research Bureau predicted  a hung assembly for UP and Uttarakhand.  Star News, Times Now and India TV all were agreeing on the hung assembly in UP.  No one could sense the clear majority to Mayawati’s BSP and a tally of 22 for Congress.

So this debate for four days is a wasteful exercise as our Market Research agencies are not equipped with manpower who can do the task professionally without getting affected by the like and dislikes of the client.

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