Following the hearing on February 12, 2014, Kantar Media has got some respite, with the Delhi High Court giving a two-week extension for implementation of TV ratings guidelines other than the cross-holding clause.
Clause 1.7 of the guidelines states that no single company/ legal entity, either directly or through its associates or inter-connected undertakings, shall have substantial equity holding in rating agencies and broadcasters/ advertisers/ advertising agencies. A promoter company/ member of the board of directors of the rating agency cannot have stakes in any broadcaster/ advertiser/ advertising agency either directly or through its associates or inter-connected undertakings.
The High Court has decided to put a stay on implementation of this clause till the time the case continues.
Mukul Rohatgi, the counsel for Kantar Media, said that Kantar will comply with all the other guidelines within two weeks.
The guidelines such as obtaining registration from MIB, capturing data on multiple platforms such as cable, DTH, publishing the methodology on the website and forming a complete redressal system with toll free number are not as troublesome as the mandate on stakes and holdings.
According to the guidelines:
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.
Secrecy and privacy of the panel homes must be maintained. Twenty-five per cent of panel homes shall be rotated every year.
The rating agency shall set up an internal audit mechanism to get its entire methodology/ processes audited internally on quarterly basis and through an independent auditor annually. All audit reports to be put on the website of the rating agency. The Government and TRAI reserve the right to audit the systems/ procedures/ mechanisms of the rating agency.
Non-compliance of guidelines on cross-holding, methodology, secrecy, privacy, audit, public disclosure and reporting requirements shall lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth Rs 1 crore to be furnished by the company in the first instance, while the second instance shall lead to cancellation of registration.
For violation of other provisions of the guidelines, the action shall be forfeiture of bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh for the first instance of non-compliance, forfeiture of bank guarantee of Rs 75 lakh for the second instance of non-compliance, while the third instance will lead to cancellation of registration.