The News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) on Thursday said its stand is vindicated after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) asked Indian broadcasters’ body BARC to release news ratings with immediate effect after the council said it has taken initiatives to revise its protocols and mechanisms.
Welcoming the Centre’s move, it said, “the News Broadcasters and Digital Association’s (NBDA) stands vindicated as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoI&B) recognises the need for improvement, acknowledges the deficiencies, the need to urgently increase sample size and systemic corrections.”
The ministry asked the Broadcasters Audience and Research Council (BARC) to release the news ratings with immediate effect and also to release the last three months data for the genre in a monthly format for fair and equitable representation of true trends.
The government while directing BARC to release news ratings said “In the spirit of the TRP Committee Report and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI’s) recommendation of April 24, 2020, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has undertaken revision in its processes, protocols, oversight mechanism and initiated changes in governance structure etc.”
The ministry has also set up a ‘working group’ under the chairmanship of Prasar Bharti CEO for consideration of leveraging the Return Path Data (RPD) capabilities for the use of TRP services, as also recommended by TRAI and the TRP Committee Report. The committee shall submit its report in four months’ time, the ministry said.
The NBA board praised the reforms undertaken to make the processes, protocols and oversight mechanism as well as setting up of a BARC Board, technical committee, permanent oversight committee, stating the move are all “steps in the right direction.”
This comes after over a year of suspension of television news ratings following the controversy surrounding the alleged TRP (television rating points) scam which came to the fore in October 2020.
The Association however suggested changes to make systems more transparent, robust and reliable. “BARC should also evaluate ways to enhance data security and ensure that there is no manual intervention at any step in the ratings process. We hope before any ratings are released, these measures are in place. We will continue to work with all stakeholders on refining the Outlier Policy to eliminate statistical anomalies and increasing the sample size to strengthen the credibility of data,” it said.
(With inputs from PTI)