Make TV ratings more accurate, tamper-proof: Industry groups to Trai

Make TV ratings more accurate, tamper-proof: Industry groups to Trai thumbnail
Heads of television stations and industry groups have asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to improve the existing system of measuring TV viewership make ratings more representative, accurate and tamper-proof.

These suggestions came at a meeting recently called by Trai with all stakeholders on the ‘Review of Television Audience Measurement.’ The exercise sought to assess credibility of the current measurement system and “gather opinions on how to further boost representativeness and robustness of current data” provided by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, an official at Trai told ET.

BARC India, a joint initiative of broadcasters, advertising agencies and advertisers, is India’s defacto official rating agency. BARC India statistics, released weekly, define a channel’s popularity and play an important role in advertising-related decision-making worth Rs 25,000 crore a year.

In April, the ministry of information and broadcasting had written to BARC on concerns within some channels about data produced by the agency, and why it was not reporting viewership separately for states such as Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, which could have been due to low sample sizes.

Trai chairman RS Sharma confirmed that the authority has reached out to stakeholders on improving the present system of measuring TV viewership and that the regulatory body will decide if it needs to bring in recommendations and guidelines soon, based on the views it gets.

The first meeting of this kind was held on October 22, which saw participation of representatives from major news and general entertainment channels, Indian Broadcasters’ Federation and News Broadcasters Associations, Indian Society of Advertising (ISA), Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and BARC India, among others.

Trai released a consultation paper on the issue Monday, inviting comments before January 2. The regulator has detailed viewership measurement methodologies used in the UK, the US, France and Ireland, among others.

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