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After 18 months, BARC resumes publishing news channel ratings

More than two months after the government asked television monitoring agency BARC to resume publishing ratings of news channels and 18 months after it was forced to suspend the job following an alleged scam, the agency on Thursday released data for the 10th week of 2022.

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) was forced to suspend ratings in October 2020 after allegations that channel ratings were rigged by a few influential broadcasters like Republic TV.

TRP manipulation surfaced when Mumbai police busted a racket based on complaints received from BARC and Hansa, a consumer insights company and one of the vendors of the agency, about “suspicious trends”.

On January 13, 2022, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked BARC to release viewership ratings of news channels with immediate effect.

The ministry asked the agency to release data for the genre for the past three months in a monthly format, with the revised system requiring the reporting of news and niche genres to be carried out on a four-week rolling average concept.

The agency then said it would take 8-12 weeks to review and augment current standards of measurement and reporting data.

Since the ministry order, BARC was reviewing its processes, protocols and oversight mechanism and initiated changes in the governance structure.

Following an industry-wide consultative process, the BARC team developed the augmented data reporting standards for news and special interest genres. According to the revised approved standards, audience estimates for these genres will only be released based on a four-week rolling average every week, BARC said in a statement releasing the first weekly data.

The statement further said the agency will release the data for the previous 13 weeks — week 49, 2021 to week 9, 2022 — for those channels which have not opted out of the rating system. This will also be based on a four-week rolling average and the data will be released over the next three working days. Business Standard

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