Broadcasters Audience Research Council (BARC), a joint venture between the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), has not appointed a high powered committee by June 2011 as was recommended by the TRP Committee Report of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). Led by Dr Amit Mitra, in January this year, the MIB’s TRP Committee Report had sought the constitution of a high powered committee within BARC to guide the broadcasters’ body in the area of research, design and analysis.
When contacted, Naresh Chahal, Director, Finance, IBF, remarked, “The IBF Board is discussing this issue and is in the process of constituting this committee, however, it will take some more time.”
It may be noted here that the TRP Committee’s recommendation had clearly stated that if BARC failed to appoint the committee within the given timeframe, “it may invoke Government action through appropriate legislation such as taking over the regulation of TRP measurement either by asking the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to step in or by creating other mechanisms”.
Meanwhile, speaking to exchange4media, Arvind Kumar, Secretary, MIB, noted, “The Ministry had written to IBF. If they will not meet this deadline then the Ministry will have to see how we move forward on this.”
Kumar added that all these efforts were in support of self-regulation and bringing sense to the TRP debate in the country. “It is a matter of pursuing and they need to pursue this. They will have to get back to the Ministry,” he added.
When the MIB’s TRP Committee Report was announced in January 2011, senior broadcasting officials had said that BARC must try and meet the deadline, “because if it does not, a great opportunity to create self regulated mechanism for ratings in India would be lost”.
It may be recalled that since BARC was not operational in the industry within the timeframe suggested by TRAI, MIB had to constitute an independent committee on May 5, 2010 to examine several crucial issues concerning TRP in India. In one of its recommendations, the MIB’s TRP Committee Report had asked for the constitution of a high powered committee within BARC to guide BARC in the area of research, design and analysis.
It further suggested that the representatives of the committee would be eminent members from different fields. The composition of the high powered committee would include a statistician of national repute, measurement technology expert, a renowned individual from Civil Society or Judiciary, a demographer, a sociologist, an economist, a business management expert from one of the IIMs, nominee of an eminent institution, a leading woman of national stature and three special invitees from BARC.