NBA requests BARC to extend data blackout, seeks details on ‘cleansing’
It remains to be seen if BARC defers the release of news viewership data and how it impacts the business that has been working with stagnant ad rates for more than 3-4 months now
The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has apparently written to BARC suggesting them to extend the blackout period that was supposed to end on January 16 for another two to three months.
According to sources, NBA has also enquired about the ‘cleansing processes’ that BARC was supposed to take up in these three months of blackout period for TV news viewership data.
On October 15 last year, amidst the controversy over TRP manipulation, the BARC Board proposed that its Technical Committee (Tech Comm) would review and augment the existing standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes. This exercise was targeted towards all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News. Starting the same week, BARC ceased publishing the weekly individual ratings for all news channels. This exercise was expected to take around 8-12 weeks, including validation and testing under the supervision of BARC’s Tech Comm.
On the announcement of the blackout period, broadcasters had a divided view. Some felt that the blackout period would essentially eliminate any anomaly in the system and eventually bring out the real picture of what Indians watch on TV while another group of broadcasters called the move unfair.
At that time, NBA had welcomed BARC's decision. The broadcaster body was hopeful that the period of suspension will be utilized to implement important reforms at BARC. But turns out now they are not sure if the time off has been spent the way it was proposed too.
While a lot of media experts emphasized on business being carried out as usual during the blackout period, they also mentioned how lack of viewership data will become a problem in renegotiating rates if the blackout continues for a long time.
It remains to be seen if BARC defers the release of news viewership data and how it impacts the business that has been working with stagnant ad rates for more than 3-4 months now.
It is said the other stakeholders of BARC, including ISA and AAAI, are in the favour of data being released with immediate effect after the designated end of the blackout period.
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