The News Broadcasters Federation, the largest grouping of TV broadcasters in India, has of audience measurement ratings by the Broadcast Audience Research Council, or BARC. It also advised BARC, an industry body owned by major broadcasters and advertisers tasked with measuring TRPs, that “any further withholding of data beyond the initially envisaged 12 weeks is counterproductive.”
After the Mumbai police unearthed a TRP scam involving the manipulation of TRPs by Republic TV and a couple of Marathi news channels, BARC in mid-October declared a three-month suspension of ratings of news channels to “review its already stringent protocols and further augment them”.
In a statement on Thursday, the NBF said its concern regarding BARC stems from the fact that the livelihoods of many people in the news industry depend on revenues generated by TV news channels which in turn are directly linked to TRPs. “Many news broadcasters are free to air and are dependent on advertising income and locking release of ratings any further will severely impact them,” the NBF said, adding that the regional TV news industry was the hardest hit.
It urged the stakeholders of BARC – Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Indian Society of Advertisers, Advertising Agencies Association of India – to take steps to resume release of ratings of news channels with immediate effect. “We believe the data is also critical for both ISA and AAAI, the major stakeholders of the advertising fraternity,” it said.