The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on ‘Guidelines/Accreditation Mechanism for Television Rating Agencies in India’. Written comments on the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by May 9, 2013. Counter comments may be submitted by May 16, 2013.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has sought TRAI’s recommendations for laying down comprehensive guidelines/ accreditation mechanism for TRP (Television Rating Points) rating agencies in India to ensure transparency and accountability in the rating system.
Some of the key issues discussed in the consultation paper include sample size, secrecy of sample homes, cross holding between rating agencies and their users, and sale and use of ratings. There are few more points that have been included this time such as establishing an accreditation mechanism for the rating agency, methodology of audience measurement, complaint redressal, audit and competition in rating services.
TRP ratings are generated by measuring what is being viewed by the consumers on their television sets. On the basis of audience measurement data, ratings are assigned to various programme/ channels on television. These ratings indicate the popularity of a channel or a programme and assists advertisers, broadcasters and advertising agencies in making business decisions. Better ratings promote a programme/ channel while poor ratings will discourage them. Incorrect ratings will lead to production of content which may not be really popular, while good content and programme may be left out. Therefore, there is a need to have an accurate measurement and representative television ratings for the programmes.
The importance of a credible, transparent and representative television audience measurement system is recognised the world over. At present, television rating in India is being done by only one agency. Issues related to credibility and transparency of the ratings services in India have been raised by certain stakeholders. Lack of a credible TRP system will hamper the growth of TV industry as a number of decisions having financial implications and also bearing on the type of content being watched are influenced by the TRP ratings supplied by rating agencies. So, there is a need to establish suitable mechanism/ guidelines for the rating agencies, which ensures that the data generated by the rating agencies is representative, credible and transparent.