Amid outrage over TRPs, BARC decides to pause audience ratings of news channels

Amidst the outrage over alleged manipulation of television rating points (TRPs), BARC has decided to pause audience ratings of news channels.

In the light of the recent developments, the BARC Board has proposed that its Technical Committee (Tech Comm) review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres.

The step is being taken to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes.

This exercise would cover all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect. Therefore, 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 Tech Comm. BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language.

Recently, after the alleged TRP scam, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has sought a report from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

Explaining the need for this move, Punit Goenka, Chairman 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.”

Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India 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”.

He added, “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”.

On October 8, Mumbai Police busted an alleged fraud of manipulating TRP (Television Rating Point) data by at least three TV channels and nabbed four persons. While speaking with the press, the Mumbai Police chief named Republic TV and two smaller TV channels - Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema in the case. Several people associated with the aforementioned media houses were also questioned by the police.

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