Owing to the controversy surrounding its viewership data for news channels, the television ratings agency, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), has paused the weekly ratings of television news for a period of three months. The decision would cover all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect, it said.
However, BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language.
Announcing the decision, BARC said a technical committee would review the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres.
“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,” Punit Goenka, Chairman of BARC India Board said.
BARC India CEO Sunil Lulla said, “We at BARC take our role in truthfully and faithfully reporting ‘What India Watches’ with the greatest sense of responsibility and work with integrity to ensure that our audience estimates (ratings) remain true to their purpose”.
“Besides augmenting current protocols and benchmarking them with global standards, BARC is actively exploring several options to discourage unlawful inducement of its panel home viewers and further strengthening its Code of Conduct to Address Viewership Malpractice,” Lulla added.
BARC measures TV viewership on behalf of broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies.
Meanwhile, The Supreme Court Thursday directed Republic TV to approach the Bombay High Court with its petition in connection with the alleged Television Rating Point (TRP) scam. Republic TV’s Chief Financial Officer Shiva Sundaram had challenging the summons issued by the Mumbai Police to the TV channel in connection with the case.
The Mumbai Police is probing the “fradulent” manipulation of TRPs involving three channels — Republic, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema — mainly in the city.
Four persons have been in the case so far and the police are on the lookout for three others. Of those arrested, one is a former employee of Hansa Research that calculated TRPs of channels for Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
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