Television ratings agency broadcast audience research council (BARC) said on Thursday it is pausing for three months audience estimates or rating of news channels because of TRP Scam.
The decision comes after its board proposed a technical committee review to augment current standards of measuring and reporting data, improving statistical robustness and “significantly hamper potential attempts to infiltrate panel homes”
The decision comes on the heels of a row over allegations that viewership ratings of three channels, Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema in TRP Scam.
In an announcement, BARC said that it would continue to review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting of data. “Will continue to release weekly audience estimates for genre of news by state and language”, it added.
Reacting to the suspension, the News Broadcasters Assosiation (NBA) welcomed the decision as a step in the right direction in lieu of TRP Scam.
BARC should use these twelve weeks to completely overhaul its systems and restore the credibility of the information it collects about what India watched, NBA said in a press release.
BARC measures TV viewership on behalf of broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies.
“BARC tech committee will revisit the rule sets of niche genres to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes. Starting with news genre, BARC would stop declaring the individual channel ratings for news channels while this reworking of the rule sets is being done. This exercise would take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of the tech committee. BARC will keep its stakeholders updated as we augment these processes,” the agency said.
The news broadcasters association welcomed the BARC decision and said the suspension of rating was an important step in the right direction” and that the interim period will be utilised to “restore the credibility of the information it collects on what India watches.”
The alleged fake TRP scam came to light when ratings agency BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. It was alleged that some families at whose houses metres for collecting data of viewership were installed were being bribed to tune into a particular channel.
Last week, Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had said that Republic TV and two Marathi channels — Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi — manipulated TRP for better advertisement revenue. Republic TV had rubbished Singh’s claims.