BARC told to resume TV news ratings – TRP committee report accepted

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Acting in the spirit of the “TRP Committee Report” and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendation for greater transparency in Television Rating Points (TRPs), the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has been tasked with resuming the process of releasing the TRP for news channels.

Expressing his satisfaction with the acceptance of the TRP committee report, the CEO of Prasar Bharati who chaired the TRP committee said:

“Glad that exactly one year later, the recommendations of the TRP committee report have been accepted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB),” Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati said in a statement. tweet.

Thanks to the other committee members for the hard work. Looking forward to reaching a cross-industry consensus on the use of return path data (RPD) for TRPs, he added.

The imperative role of the TRP Committee

The instruction to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which is responsible for measuring TV audience in India, comes after the establishment of a “TRP committee” under the chairmanship of Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati, to examine technological advances and interventions aimed at strengthening the procedures of a credible and transparent rating system.

Furthermore, the committee studied different facets of the TV rating system in India as they evolve over time and made an assessment of the existing system, reviewed the TRAI recommendations and the overall scenario of industry.

The committee also addressed stakeholder needs and made recommendations for a robust and transparent TRP system.

Other members of the TRP committee included Dr. Shalabh, Professor of Statistics, IIT Kanpur, Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT, and Professor Pulak Ghosh, Decision Sciences Center for Public Policy (CPP).

Detailed Report of the TRP Committee

After several rounds of deliberation and discussion with key stakeholders, the TRP Committee submitted its detailed report in January 2021.
The core of the report for an effective rating system was aligned with the development of a value system. The report stated, “The sophistication of the algorithms, the scale and the diversity of the panels do not replace the shared values ​​and ethics that must govern such a system”.

Additionally, the committee recommended that “return path data (RPD) become a mandatory feature of all future decoders.” The committee declared the integration of the existing RPD into the data of the current rating mechanism within 6 months and recommended the mandatory universalization of the collection of audience information using the technology “Return Path Data” (RPD ).

For greater transparency in the TRP system, the committee has also encouraged healthy competition in the ratings space by carrying out a one-time audit of BARC India’s MDPL subsidiary and removing invisible barriers.

The committee also highlighted the need to move to an open data ecosystem approach where algorithms and historical datasets are available and open to academics and independent researchers for analysis, validation and enrichment. Key recommendations to strengthen corporate governance at BARC, strengthen technical oversight, promote business innovations, new business models, and more. were also made.

The creation of the joint working group

To harness the capabilities of Return Path Data (RPD) in TRP measurement, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also set up a “Joint Task Force”, chaired by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

RPD (Return Path Data) is TV viewership data, under which viewership can also be measured from decoders.

The joint working group will include representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Bureau of Indian Standards, BARC, DTH Association and All India Digital Cable Federation, and the group will submit its report in four months.

In particular, the joint working group will examine audience measurement, international practices, audience data security, and will have to propose minimum standards for RPD (Return Path Data) compatible decoders, certification protocols and audit, and standards common to the existing rating methodology to be incorporated into the RPD.

The Revised System for TRP TV News

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement: “The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has undertaken a review of its processes, protocols, monitoring mechanism and initiated changes in the governance structure, etc.”
The reconstitution of the Board of Directors and the Technical Committee to allow the induction of Independent Members was also initiated by BARC.

“A permanent monitoring committee has also been set up. Data access protocols have been overhauled and strengthened,” the official statement from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting added.

As instructed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, BARC has been asked to publish the ratings with immediate effect and the board will also publish data for the last three months, for the genre in a monthly format, for a fair and equitable representation. real trends.

Under the revised system, news and niche genre reporting must be based on a “four-week moving average concept”.

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