Landing Page: All eyes on committee report as row continues to simmer
While most of the industry remains tight-lipped about the status of the report, there has been a sense of dissatisfaction among the broadcasters
It has been nearly two months since the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) junked TRAI’s direction on the landing page issue, but broadcasters are still not at peace. All eyes are now set on the first report to be submitted to the BARC India board by the two-member committee set up to address the same.
While most of the industry, including BARC India, remains tight-lipped about the status of the first report to be submitted by Nakul Chopra and Praveen Tripathi to the board, there has been a sense of dissatisfaction in the broadcasting industry.
Broadcasters have been complaining about ratings reported by BARC India even as the audience measurement body stays firm about how they cannot identify landing pages. Any abnormal reach is being considered as outlier by the body, and rationalised and moderated assuming it came from landing pages. While BARC deviated from this age-old formula and published Week 22 ratings, inclusive of landing page viewership numbers, the following week it decided to neutralise landing page data and resort back to the initial counting technique. This yo-yo approach hasn’t gone down well with many broadcasters.
It turns out now that the legal team at Network18 reached out to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) expressing dissatisfaction over BARC’s data validation and outlier policy. While the exact content of the letter is not available in the public domain, highly-placed sources in the company have confirmed the letter is about the outlier policy.
There have been debates and discussions around the landing page issue but it still remains unresolved.
Earlier this month, the BARC India board met but failed to arrive at any concrete conclusion on whether television ratings should include landing page viewership count or not. The only breather for all those not supporting BARC’s way of counting viewership could be the eagerly awaited report by the 2-member committee.
Upset with the developments, an industry insider said: “We firmly believe that BARC’s outlier policy for landing page is arbitrary, discriminatory and illegal. BARC has claimed in forums that they do not have access to landing page data and that for some channels they make manual changes. Such moderations on assumptions, which are not transparent, are open to abuse and prejudicial to the interest of the industry. Landing page is bonafide marketing activity, just like any other activity carried out by broadcasters to increase its reach and viewership. It is clear that BARC’s outlier policy is distorting the big ratings picture for the entire industry. We will take this up at the highest levels and continue our fight against this malpractice.”
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