'News viewership data to resume post implementation of Vempati committee recommendations'

I&B minister Anurag Thakur had sought comments from TV broadcasting bodies on the recommendations submitted by the committee to review guidelines for TV rating agencies

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 2, 2021 4:42 PM
Anurag Thakur

I&B minister Anurag Thakur has said that the ministry wants to implement the recommendations of the four-member committee headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati following which TV news ratings reporting will resume.

"The ratings of general entertainment channels are still getting reported. As far as news channel ratings are concerned, everyone knows what has happened. BARC has seen a change in CEO not once but twice. We had formed a committee to review TV rating guidelines. The industry bodies had to send their views on the committee's recommendations by 30th November which we have received. Our goal is to implement the recommendations of the TV rating committee as soon as possible so that the reporting of news ratings can restart which will bring relief to news channels," said Thakur, while speaking at News18 India’s 'Chaupal' summit.

The ministry had sought comments from TV broadcasting bodies on the recommendations submitted by the Shashi Shekhar Vempati headed committee to review guidelines for TV rating agencies. It had asked the 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.

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 the 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 the emergence of multiple ratings agencies and work towards ensuring that all invisible barriers that have prevented the emergence of multiple rating agencies be eliminated.

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