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    Chrome DM: Firm that comes to rescue when a TV channel disappears from cable network


    A data analytics firm comes to the rescue of broad-casters whose channels suddenly fall off the cable operator's radar.

    ET Bureau
    It is not uncommon for a particular TV channel on a cable network to disappear and then surface a week later and then disappear again.

    Viewers fume and the channel in question is left helpless because it's been 'switched off' by the cable operator as the operator's been offered more money by another channel to 'switch on', instead of the one playing earlier. And chances are the channel realises the switch has taken place only after an inexplicable drop in viewership.

    And Pankaj Krishna got a first hand experience of such a channel distribution and being at the mercy of the cable operator while working for UTV Movies. "If only channels had a sense of the distribution, reach and the incremental increase in viewership. It would help both broadcasters as well as advertisers," he thought. And the thought gave birth to Chrome Data Analytics & Media, a channel distribution monitoring firm.

    Krishna set up Chrome DM with an investment of Rs 1.2 crore in 2008 and today the company clocks a turnover of around Rs 10 crore with more than 100 broadcasters using the tools and services on offer. "Broadcasters were at the mercy of cable operators and even after paying exorbitant carriage fees there was no way to ensure their channel's presence on the telly. The channel that paid the highest money would get carried on cable," says Krishna.

    Chrome has offices in Mumbai and Delhi and employs over 2300 employees. People from diverse backgrounds like MBA, economics, advertising etc comprise the team at Chrome DM.

    Chrome DM has four main offerings: Chrome Track — a weekly connectivity report every Monday for it subscribers which enables broadcasters to view their and competition sets' exact distribution status across all key markets; Distribution Potential Index (DPi) — an indication of incremental audience for a channel post improvisation; Distribution Investment Index (Dii) — a tool used by broadcasters to indicate the carriage fee return on investments across cable networks in 194 cities of India; LC1 — a connectivity report for 480 towns of India with less than 1 lakh population and Chrome NE — a tool for broadcasters to check their availability and for marketers & media agencies to discern the accurate reach of a particular channel across seven North Eastern States (including Sikkim).

    With the advent of DTH, broadcasters do have a more level playing field in the market. But cable & satellite homes still form the biggest chunk of the Indian television market and broadcasters continue to be at the mercy of cable operators. But what a service like Chrome does is it allows a real time assessment of the distribution and take correct measures in case of any anomalies.

    Rahul Johri, SVP & GM — South Asia, Discovery Networks, APAC says, "Discovery has always been well distributed, but we didn't know where our channel was going on and off. However with Chrome we can now sit in our office and in one glance tell what is happening across markets. Chrome has also helped us refine our language offering. We have been able to do new launches in important markets based on earlier performance of our channels and Chrome has been instrumental in this."

    While broadcasters have realized the benefit that Chrome brings to the table, media planners are still skeptical. Harish Shriyan, Jt MD, OMD India says, "Broadcasters can now definitely understand if their money is being well-spent. However for advertisers what still matters is the viewership of content and that still decides marketing investment." But Chrome, says Krishna, has already built its capability in providing marketing strategies to improve increasing break television viewer ratings (TVRs) and reduce CPRPs. Looks like it will require some more fine tuning to take Chrome to the next level.
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