With the race for the top spot in the English news segment intensifying following the launch of Republic TV on May 6, former NDTV CEO Vikram Chandra hit out at the blind pursuit of television rating points (TRPs) by news networks. The presenter of The Big Fight argued that Indian news television is facing a serious crisis since media planners are dependent on TRPs to place advertisements. As per Chandra, the television ratings, in turn, are measured by only 10,000 meters as compared to the 183 million homes that have set-top-boxes.
“Shows in which panel members shout at each other receive higher TRPs. It makes you feel that good television is driven by bad television,” said Chandra, who took on the mantle of Consulting Editor after relinquishing his executive responsibilities last year. The Stephanian mentioned that several newscasts of his touching upon pressing issues such as education of the girl child, female foeticide and women rights did not generate any TRPs whatsoever.
He also pointed out that the prime importance accorded to TRPs had led to news channels indulging in sensationalism and bias in order to gain more viewership. As per the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 18, Times Now occupied the first position among the English news channels with 645 impressions (000s). It was followed by India Today TV and NDTV 24X7 with 368 and 290 impressions (000s), respectively.
Associated with NDTV since well over two decades now, Chandra has been involved with both the editorial and business aspects of news broadcasting. While addressing the Women Economic Forum 2017, Chandra wondered whether news channels were actually providing credible information in the midst of this TRP race.