Govt may start its own TV ratings system, if impasse continues: Uday Varma

The MIB Secy is critical of the current state of affairs in the ratings system & has called for a transparent mechanism to choose the audience sample size

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Jun 26, 2013 8:15 AM
Govt may start its own TV ratings system, if impasse continues: Uday Varma

The TAM ratings issue has seen lots of twists and turns in the recent weeks. With the deadlock still continuing, there are indications that the Government, which has so far remained an outside observer, might step in.

As reported by exchange4media earlier, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is gearing up to put in place an alternate ratings measurement system in the first quarter of 2014. Besides, TAM and the Indian Broadcast Foundation (IBF) are likely to meet this week to resolve the ratings impasse.

Talking to exchange4media exclusively on the recent TAM vs broadcasters issue, Uday Varma, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) said, “If TAM continues to functions like this and BARC does not launch the alternative system, then I think the Government has to seriously think of doing something, including using legislation and putting in place a credible mechanism.”

Expressing his views on the current state of functioning, Varma said, “The fact remains that the current system of television ratings measurement is very faulty and that must be adjusted very quickly by the people who are really generating this.”

When asked what is needed to be done to make the system perfect, Varma replied, “The sample size has to be proportionate to the universe that you are taking, and it has to be statistically sound. Since you are not going to measure every household, therefore, you have to take a sample that is acceptable to all experts, and not necessarily only those experts whom TAM supports. The system has to be transparent.”

He further made it clear that BARC’s system would be rated on statistical parameters by a committee of independent experts, including Government representatives so that everybody agrees on the sample size and the number of people meters. Moreover, the confidentiality of the location of people meters will have to be assured.

When asked what steps the MIB has taken regarding the improper measurement system, Varma replied, “We have referred the matter to TRAI and have asked the regulator to give its recommendations and also provide guidelines that will be applicable to all credit ratings agencies – be it TAM, BARC or any other agency that comes into business.”

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