MIB seeks views from broadcasting bodies on TV rating committee's recommendations

The ministry has asked IBDF, NBDA, and NBF to provide their comments on the 39-page report dated 4th January 2021

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 23, 2021 8:39 AM  | 3 min read

The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has sought comments from TV broadcasting bodies on the recommendations submitted by the Shashi Shekhar Vempati headed committee to review guidelines for TV rating agencies.

The ministry has asked Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA), and News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) to provide their comments on the 39-page report dated 4th January 2021. The deadline for sending comments has been extended from 17th November to 30th November.

According to an industry source, the ministry is holding consultations only with key industry bodies like IBDF, NBDA, and NBF. It might seek views from public stakeholders at a latter stage. "Initially, the MIB is only holding consultations with these three bodies. It might consider putting up the report for public consultation. However, that has not yet been decided," the source said, on condition of anonymity.

As reported earlier, the four-member committee formed by the MIB to review guidelines for TV rating agencies in India has recommended that provision for Return Path Data (RPD) be made a mandatory capability in all future set-top boxes (STBs) deployed by Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs), so that RPD becomes a ubiquitous capability on par with encryption, conditional access and other such mandatory STB level capabilities.

The committee has further suggested that collection of viewership data by DPOs should be governed by privacy norms prescribed by the government/regulator and additionally the sale or sharing of such viewership data by the DPOs with third parties should be governed by the guidelines for television rating systems.

It has asked the MIB to direct BARC India to accelerate the integration of already available RPD data into its ratings' framework within a period of 6 months. Further, a joint industry working group with representation from all relevant stakeholders and independent experts may be set up to specify the norms for an industry-wide RPD mandate, to codify privacy protection, to govern sale/sharing of RPD Data in a transparent/accountable manner.

In its 39-page report to the MIB, the committee has also recommended setting up of an industry-wide Appellate body for grievance redressal and mediation of disputes between stakeholders and ratings agencies. It has also recommended that the guidelines must not place barriers on emergence of multiple ratings agencies and work towards ensuring that all invisible barriers that have prevented emergence of multiple rating agencies be eliminated.

Furthermore, the committee wants the MIB to set up a dedicated regulatory body to regulate multiple ratings agencies. The committee has recommended creation of a specialised media ratings' regulator, drawing on the experiences of SEBI in regulating credit rating agencies and of the experience of the Media Ratings Council in the United States in specifying minimum standards for multiple rating agencies and for accrediting and auditing such ratings agencies.

In order to incentivise innovation and to nurture such start-ups in this space, the committee has suggested that the government/regulator should examine incentives and policy interventions including FDI norms in this technology space so that India emerges as the hub for global innovation in media audience measurement and indigenous technology development is fostered to promote self-reliance/Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

The committee has also recommended setting up a joint research working group with representatives of stakeholder bodies and independent technical experts to develop the same while specifying ecosystem-wide common notations, definitions, terminologies, metrics, indices, and computation methodologies. Such a joint research effort would pave the way for adoption of India relevant methodologies such as stratified sampling with proportional allocation for better representation of the diverse and complex audience universe found in India.

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