Government asks BARC to publish TRP for news channels under new structure

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THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday instructed the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), responsible for measuring India’s television audience, to immediately release Television Rating Points (TRPs) for news channels, after making changes to the data governance structure. He said the data will now be calculated on a four-week moving average.

A joint working group has also been established with government and industry representatives to propose specifications and protocols for exploiting set-top box return path data and addressing the resulting privacy issues.

TRPs for news channels will be released after an interval of almost 15 months. BARC stopped publishing the TRP for news channels in October 2020 after allegations of rigging by some news channels emerged. Shortly thereafter, the government formed a committee headed by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati to examine the practices of the TRP. The committee issued its report exactly one year ago, on January 12, 2021.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that, in the spirit of the TRP committee’s report and the recommendation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), BARC has “undertaken a revised its processes, protocols, oversight mechanism and initiated changes in governance structure, etc.”

He said that “the reconstitution of the board and technical committee to allow for the induction of independent members has also been initiated by BARC” and that a permanent oversight committee has also been formed. Data access protocols have been overhauled and strengthened, the ministry said.

BARC said that in light of the changes it has undertaken, it is reaching out to affected constituencies to explain the new proposals and is ready to begin publishing ratings in accordance with the new protocols, the statement said.

In light of these events, the ministry asked BARC to release the ratings “with immediate effect and also to release data for the last three months, for the genre in a monthly format, for a fair and equitable representation of real trends.

Under the new system, reporting on news and niche genres, which have a smaller sample size, making them prone to rigging, will be done on a “four-week moving average concept,” the report said. ministry.

The government has also set up a joint task force, as recommended by the TRP panel in its report. This group, also led by Vempati, will examine whether Return Path Data (RPD) capabilities can be used to measure TRPs. This was one of the recommendations of the TRP committee, that viewership can also be measured from decoders.

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

It will study audience measurement, international practices, audience data security and should propose minimum standards for RPD-compatible set-top boxes, certification and auditing protocols, and common standards for scoring methodology. to integrate with RPD. .

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