This move of the government comes a year after the suspension of ratings in October 2020 following the alleged TRP scam. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also constituted a ‘Working Group’ under the chairmanship of Prasar Bharati CEO to consider leveraging ‘Return Path Data’ capabilities for utilization of TRP services.
New Delhi: The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Wednesday asked Indian broadcasters’ body BARC to issue news ratings with immediate effect.
In fact, ‘Broadcasters Audience and Research Council (BARC) had said that it has taken steps to change the protocol and mechanism.
The move comes a year after the suspension of television news ratings following the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) scam controversy in October 2020.
The ministry has asked BARC to issue news ratings and data for the last three months in monthly form with immediate effect, to ensure fair and equitable representation of true trends.
According to the revised methodology, reporting of news and other formats will be done on a rolling average of four weeks, the ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry has constituted a ‘Working Group’ under the chairmanship of Prasar Bharati CEO to consider leveraging ‘Return Path Data’ (RPD) capabilities for utilization of TRP services.
This was also recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the TRP Rating Committee in their report.
The Joint Working Group will have Prasar Bharati CEO SS Vempati as the chairman and five members. It will have one member each from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Bureau of Indian Standards, BARC and All India Digital Cable Federation and DTH Association President Harit Nagpal.
The group will lay down common protocols, data standards and amendments to the existing rating methodology to integrate the data of RPD enabled STBS into the existing TV rating system.
The TRP Committee report and TRAI recommendation dated 24th April, 2020 include that Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has revised its procedure, protocol, monitoring mechanism and also introduced changes in governance structure.
Reacting to the matter, Rajat Sharma, Editor-in-Chief of India TV and President of News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA), said, “The ministry has taken cognizance of the lapses and sealed the scope for improvement, including setting a time limit for issuing ratings.” has justified the stand of NBDA.
According to news agency PTI, in an official order, the ministry said that the joint working group will study various aspects of data capturing including RPD with reference to audience measurement, international practice, protection of audience data, etc.
It said, ‘The group can study successful global best practice. RPD may create a mandate for model/pilot carried out by BARC in India like Canada and other independent use by DTH operators and other concerned stakeholders and combination of data sources including RPD, if so decided with the existing sampling method. Is.’
The group will set minimum standards for certification and audit of RPD enabled STBS, SOPs. It will specify common protocols, data standards and amendments to the existing rating methodology so that data from RPD enabled STBS can be integrated into the existing TV rating system.
“Furthermore, set minimum standards for any smart phone-based app to augment the above proposed RPD system for integration into existing TV ratings,” the ministry said. Also set standards for SOPs for certification and audit.
The group will develop a consensus on how the price/cost of various such data sets, including RPD/smart phone-based data collection, will be shared within the framework of the TV rating system.
It will lay down a consent-based privacy framework governing all such data collection and use within TV Ratings and in line with the rollout of the above with a clear roadmap to guide all stakeholders while determining the points of responsibility for the same. will establish a time limit.
The secretariat for the Joint Working Group will be provided by Prasar Bharati. If necessary, the group may also invite any expert(s) and representatives of stakeholders for its deliberations.
The group will submit its report to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting within four months from the date of issue of this order.
The TRP scam came to light in October 2020 when BARC, which issues weekly ratings for TV channels, filed a complaint against some channels, including Republic TV, through the Hansa Research Agency, for rigging the TRPs. Later the police started the investigation of this alleged scam.
The Mumbai Police Commissioner had claimed that some channels, including Republic TV, had rigged the TRPs.
Employees of BARC and Republic TV were also named in the FIR. Mumbai Police was also probing the role of other channels like Fakht Marathi, Box Cinema, News Nation, Mahamovies and Wow Music in the alleged TRP tampering case.
In this case, the Mumbai Police had released a WhatsApp chat between Goswami and Dasgupta, in which both talked about rival channels and expressed their disappointment over those channels performing better than Republic.
It is noteworthy that according to the supplementary charge sheet filed by Mumbai Police, former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, Partho Dasgupta, in a hand written statement to Mumbai Police, has claimed that he should be appointed editor of Republic Channel in exchange for tampering with TRPs. In three years, Arnab Goswami had received $12,000 for two family trips and a total of four million rupees.
After this matter came to light, BARC had announced to temporarily suspend the ratings of news channels for 12 weeks.
(with input from news agency language)
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