NEWS12 May 2010

Government committee to probe TV ratings setup in India

Asia Pacific Government

INDIA— A government committee has been formed to review the current TV ratings setup in India, and to suggest ways of improving the “accuracy, accountability, transparency and objectivity” in the measurement of television audiences.

The seven-member committee looks to cover much the same ground as did the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) two years ago, when it carried out a consultation on whether there was a need for government intervention in TV ratings.

Indian politicians have raised concerns about the representativeness of the TV ratings panels operated by the country’s two main suppliers, TAM Media Research and AMap, fearing that an urban bias is creeping into the commissioning and scheduling of programmes as most panel homes are in large cities, rather than in smaller towns and rural areas.

At the conclusion of its consultation, TRAI recommended that the TV ratings system remain self-regulating through the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) – a joint industry committee similar to Barb in the UK – but with the proviso that Barc feature two nominees of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on its board of directors, and for nominees of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the Indian Statistical Institute to be granted seats on Barc’s technical committee.

Such government oversight was deemed “unacceptable” by Barc, however.

The newly-constituted government committee has three months from the date of its first meeting to deliver its report.