January 14, 2022 - 5:56 am

I&B Ministry Directs to Restart News Channel Ratings 

    The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has asked television monitoring agency Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) responsible for measuring television viewership in India, to immediately release Television Rating Points (TRPs) for news channels, after it made changes to governance structure for the data with immediate effect and also to release the last three months data, for the genre in a monthly format, for fair and equitable representation of true trends. Additionally, it set up a joint working group with stakeholders from the industry and government on board and asked them to come up with specifications and protocols to leverage Return Path Data (RPD) from set-top boxes while addressing privacy concerns that arise as a result.

    The TRPs for news channels will be released after a gap of nearly 15 months. BARC stopped publishing the TRP for news channels in October 2020 after allegations of rigging by some news channels emerged. Soon after, the government formed a committee headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati to look into the TRP practices. The committee submitted its report exactly a year ago, on January 12, 2021. Under the new system, the reporting of news and niche genres, which have a smaller sample size making them prone to rigging, will be on a “four-week rolling average concept. The Vempati-led joint working group will now consider if RPD capabilities can be used for measuring TRPs and will submit its report in four months. It will study audience measurement, international practices, security of the viewership data, and will have to come up with minimum standards for RPD capable set-top boxes, protocols for certifications and auditing, and common standards to the existing rating methodology to integrate with RPD.

    BARC has indicated that in view of the changes undertaken by it, it is reaching out to related constituencies to explain the new proposals and is ready to commence the release the ratings as per the new protocols.  Over the last several days, there have been various news reports as regard to Television Ratings and BARC India. BARC India as an industry body has representation from bodies that represent Broadcasters, Advertisers, and Advertising and Media Agencies. BARC India owns and manages a transparent, accurate and inclusive TV audience measurement system. BARCs management team works with full confidence and support of Board and the various Committees. BARC continues to be driven by only one goal: to generate ratings that its subscribers rely on which are deeply rooted in science, report with the greatest sense of responsibility and truly reflect ‘What India Watches.