TRP Scam: BARC suspends weekly ratings for news channels to review its systems

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TV audience measurement company, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in wake of the Mumbai Police probe which showed some TV news channels were manipulating TRPs has decided to pause weekly audience ratings for news channels.

BARC Board has proposed that it’s Technical Committee (Tech Comm) shall review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes.

This exercise is expected to take around 8-12 weeks and would cover all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect. The exercise includes validation and testing under the supervision of BARCs Tech Comm.

Starting with the ‘News Genre’, BARC will cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for all news channels. However, the council will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language.

Explaining the need for this move, Punit Goenka, Chairman of BARC India Board said, “Given the most recent developments, the BARC Board was of the opinion that a pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them to enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness.”

Sunil Lulla, CEO, BARC India, said that BARC takes its role of reporting ‘What India Watches’ with the greatest sense of responsibility and works with integrity to ensure that the audience estimates (ratings) remain true to their purpose. He added, “Besides augmenting current protocols and benchmarking them with global standards, BARC is actively exploring several options to discourage unlawful inducement of its panel home viewers and further strengthening its Code of Conduct to Address Viewership Malpractice.” 

Earlier this month, Mumbai Police busted a scam of TRP manipulation by at least three TV channels- Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and arrested four persons. At a press conference held on October 8, police said that some channels were manipulating the TRPs by paying former employees of Hansa research group which was in contract with BARC to conduct the research.

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