TRAI makes landing page regulations stringent, broadcasters welcome the directive

Broadcasters give positive reaction to TRAI's latest directive calling out the measurement of watermarked channels which are also on landing pages by BARC as unfair

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Nov 10, 2017 8:50 AM Updated: Nov 10, 2017 8:50 AM

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a directive to all broadcasters and distributors of television channels not to place any registered satellite television channel, whose rating is released by TV rating agency, on the landing channel or boot up screen. At the onset, broadcasters seem to be welcoming this change. 

Most of the experts we spoke to mentioned that channels resort to unfair ways to get their channels on landing page in order to spike ratings. 

Avinash Kaul, Managing Director, A + E Networks | TV18 President – Strategy, Product & Alliances – Network 18, encouraged TRAI’s decision saying this will only ensure a level playing field.“People have used different ways and means to spike ratings. This (move) creates a level playing field because in quite a few news and general channels that gives an additional advantage which shouldn’t normally be there. Unfair advantage for one player is detrimental to others. So this directive is completely welcomed," he said.

The general consensus from the industry is that the new directive from TRAI is fair to all broadcasters. Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News Network, points out that the measurement of watermarked channels which are also on landing pages by BARC as unfair and incorrect. Hence he welcomes the move, “It was an unfair practice which TRAI has corrected. Broadcasters will have to follow the TRAI direction. The practice was not in consumer interest.”

Issuing an order is one thing but will it be followed is a question needs to be asked. Markand Adhikari, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of SAB Group thinks it’s a good decision only if everybody follows. He shares, “If everybody follows it then it is a good decision, as ratings should be natural. Placing channels on landings pages is kind of a publicity or promotion activity. It should not be done as rules should be same for every TV channel. In the end only content matters.”

The broadcasters and distributors have been asked by TRAI to comply with the direction within fifteen days.
It has been repeatedly brought to TRAI’s attention by various stakeholders that satellite TV channels are placed on the landing page and this could influence the television audience measurements/ television ratings.

Even TRAI, in its direction, concluded that this practice may affect the orderly growth of the sector and is against the spirit of the policy guidelines for TV rating agencies.

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