Fake TRP scam: BARC suspends rating of news channels for 3 months

NEW DELHI: NEW DELHI: Television ratings agency broadcast audience research council (BARC) said on Thursday it is pausing for three months audience estimates or rating of news channels. The decision comes after its board proposed a technical committee review to augment current standards of measuring and reporting data, improving statistical robustness and “significantly hamper potential attempts to infiltrate panel homes”.
The decision comes on the heels of a row over allegations that viewership ratings of three channels, Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema, were rigged.
In a statement on Thursday, BARC said the suspension of ratings applies to all English, Hindi, regional and business news channels.
“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,” BARC said.
The ratings agency said the decision will initially impact all Hindi, regional, English news and business news broadcasters, but BARC will continue to provide estimates for the overall news genre every week by state and language.
While playout data of the impacted channels will continue to be collected, BARC will advise a protocol for the release of individual channel data after its work on niche channel data is completed.
“BARC tech committee will revisit the rule sets of niche genres to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes. Starting with news genre, BARC would stop declaring the individual channel ratings for news channels while this reworking of the rule sets is being done. This exercise would take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of the tech committee. BARC will keep its stakeholders updated as we augment these processes,” the agency said.
The news broadcasters association welcomed the BARC decision and said the suspension of rating was an important step in the right direction” and that the interim period will be utilised to “restore the credibility of the information it collects on what India watches.”

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