It was in September last year that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed its recommendations on guidelines for television rating agencies. This was following the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s (MIB) request to TRAI to provide its recommendations on issues related to guidelines/ accreditation mechanism for accreditation of TRP rating agencies in India, under Section 11(1) (a) of the TRAI Act, 1997. Now, the Ministry has approved the new guidelines to regulate the rating system.
For a long time the broadcasters have been voicing their concern about the current rating system. In June 2013, major Hindi and English broadcasters unsubscribed to TAM ratings following which there has been growing demand to put in practice more reliable rating methods.
The latest step by the MIB is seen as a big relief for the broadcasters and they are expecting the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to come in picture soon.
Reacting to the fresh guidelines and sharing their implications, KVL Narayan Rao, Vice Chairperson and President, News Broadcasters Association said, “We have been demanding an increase in the sample size for greater accuracy of data. With the increase in people meters to 50,000, we believe that the data will be robust and as accurate as it can get. Broadcasters will know exactly where they stand and advertisers will be satisfied that they are spending their monies wisely, and this is what we have been asking for.”
Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Television Network added here, “BARC will serve the industry interests in a better way. Moreover, technology is much advanced today and BARC will be definitely more transparent.”
The Union Cabinet highlighted that panel homes for audience measurement shall be drawn from the pool of households selected through an establishment survey. A minimum panel size of 20,000 will be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force. Thereafter, the panel size shall be increased by 10,000 every year until it reaches 50,000.
The guidelines also pointed out that secrecy and privacy of the panel homes must be maintained and that 25 per cent of the panel homes shall be rotated every year.
When asked about the latest development, Partho Das Gupta, CEO, BARC said, “Our planned sample size is similar to what the guidelines stipulate. We are well on course with our rollout and things are moving as planned.”
He further said, “The crossholding issue does not apply to BARC. Thereafter, whether it is the technology part, the number of sample homes, rotation, complaint redressal or internal audit, all these are being planned for and are in line with the guidelines issued by TRAI back in September.”