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Ratings blackout: An imminent reality?

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Ratings blackout: An imminent reality?

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has cracked its whip on TV ratings and TAM with its new guidelines. Industry experts feel that the strict guidelines could impact the advertising and media industry and could even lead to ‘ratings blackout’ in the country.

As per the MIB guidelines, “No single company/ legal entity, either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings, shall have substantial equity holding, that is, 10 per cent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/ advertisers/ advertising agencies.” It further states, “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 to 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 the figure of 50,000.”

These guidelines have added to the woes of the current ratings agency TAM, which is still deciding between dragging MIB to court or selling their stakes and shutting down operations in India if the current situation continues.

On the other hand, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) announced on January 20, 2014 that it will be in action from October 1 this year.

With just 26 days left for TAM Media to implement the new terms and conditions, the deadline for which ends on February 16, 2014, there could be a situation when there will be no measurement system for almost eight months, that is, from February 16 to September 30, 2014, since the BARC system is expected to become operational only from October 1.

With the Lok Sabha elections drawing nearer, it would be difficult for marketers and advertisers to choose a right platform for their ads, given the uncertain situation.

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