Fighting near the peak of colour TV sales

As the market share gap between colour TV brands narrows, some of the marketers are getting more restive. While the main battle rages at the strategic level , smaller skirmishes are breaking out over market figures generated by research agencies.

A greater sense of urgency has brought monthly sales figures into focus. So concerned have companies become about these figures that the numbers have become the subject of a battle between Videocon, one of the most aggressive players in the consumer electronics market, and ORG, the well-known market research firm whose surveys were the only ones available until recently to a feedback-hungry industry.

Two Indian brands are fighting for the number two position in the domestic market, one happy enough to go by the ORG-GFK figures, the other strongly questioning their accuracy.

The Rs 688-crore Mirc Electronics, owner of , has been quite happy to go by the ORG-GFK May reading of a 10.6 per cent market share by volume, since that puts it at the number two position. Videocon has an ORG-GFK reading of a 10.5 per cent share. In value terms ORG-GFK placed Onida's share at 10.6 per cent and Videocon's at 9.8 per cent.

is, of course, having none of that. It has slapped a legal notice on ORG over what it argues are distorted figures. "The matter of ORG's dealer sample is serious and we are taking up the issue strongly with it," says Nabankur Gupta, Videocon's director for sales and marketing.

"In a market as dynamic as that of colour televisions, you need to pay attention to the dealer sample size," Mr Gupta stresses. "Since 1995, ORG has added only 60 dealers to its list. According to our own research so far, 45 per cent of the Indian market, in terms of dealers in metros and mini-metros, is not covered in the ORG panel." By a calculation of its own factory despatches in May, the company claims an 18-20 per cent share for the Videocon brand alone.