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Review of television audience measurement and ratings in India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper to solicit the views of stakeholders on regulatory initiatives/ measures to be taken to make TV rating services more accurate, widely acceptable. The consultation paper also explores possibilities of use of new technologies to enhance credibility, transparency, neutrality, and fairness in the TV rating in India.

Television audience measurement has been in a developing phase, with advanced technologies being used and updated to maintain transparency and improve credibility of the system. Further, over the years new issues have emerged which need to be addressed. Several concerns relating to neutrality and reliability of the existing rating system have been raised by stakeholders, which necessitated a need to review of existing Television Audience Measurement and Ratings system in India.

Further, issues relating to panel expansion and panel tampering have surfaced, which need special attention because they have significant impact on the TV channel ratings.

The consultation paper seeks stakeholders’ views on BARC’s performance, raising issues such as: Whether BARC has been able to accomplish the purpose with transparency and without any bias for which it has been established? Whether the present shareholding/ownership pattern of BARC ensures adequate representation of all stakeholders to maintain its neutrality and transparent TV ratings?

How can its credibility and neutrality be enhanced further? Is there a need to promote competition in television rating services to ensure transparency, neutrality and fairness to give TAM rating? What regulatory initiatives/measures can be taken to make TV rating services more accurate and widely acceptable?

The consultation paper is also mulling over whether there is need to create competition in rating services. Although there is no restriction on the number of firms entering into rating services in India, as on date television audience measurement is being done by only one agency, that is, BARC.

The main issue for consideration is as to whether there is a need to promote competition in television rating services to ensure transparency, neutrality and fairness to give TAM rating? What regulatory initiatives/ measures can be taken to make TV rating services more accurate and widely acceptable?

Written comments are invited from the stakeholders are sought by February 2, 2019, and counter comments, by February 16, 2019.

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