To ‘review and augment’ current standards of measuring and reporting data over 8-12 weeks
Days after Mumbai Police investigations pointing at a possible tampering of Target Rating Point (TRP) by certain news channels, television rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) announced the suspension of audience estimates and ratings for news channels for the next three months, while the Parliamentary Panel on Information Technology has suggested that the present method of data collection is outdated and should be replaced with newer technological innovations.
The decision was taken after the BARC Board directed its technical committee to “review and augment” the current standards of measuring and reporting data. The effort will be, BARC said, to improve “statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes”. This exercise, a statement from BARC said, would cover all Hindi, regional and English news and business news channels with immediate effect.
“Starting with the ‘News Genre’, BARC will cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for all news channels during the exercise. This exercise is expected to take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of BARCs Technical committee. BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language,” a BARC India statement read.
Explaining the need for the move, Punit Goenka, chairperson of BARC India Board said, “Given the most recent developments, the BARC Board was of the opinion that a pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them to enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness.”
The News Broadcasters Association welcomed the decision and called it an important step in the right direction.
The Mumbai Police in recent investigations had claimed that ratings for Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema were rigged.