NEWS13 January 2014

India gov't votes for TV ratings framework

Asia Pacific Government News

INDIA — The government of India has introduced a regulatory framework to cover the design, implementation and delivery of TV ratings data in the country.


The framework is based on recommendations put forward by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which has been mulling government intervention in TV audience measurement for almost six years.

TRAI’s guidelines – adopted by government, and published in September – set out a minimum sample size of 20,000 homes, rising by 10,000 each year until the panel reaches 50,000 homes.

In addition, the guidelines require an establishment survey of 10 times the number of panel homes from which to draw the sample.

Research companies wishing to carry out TV ratings work will also have to register with the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

However, seemingly at odds with the rest of its recommendations, TRAI says it “supports self-regulation of television ratings through an industry-led body like Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)”.

BARC is modelled on the UK’s own Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board. It features representatives of ad agencies, advertisers and media owners on its board and is currently laying the groundwork for a new industry-backed audience measurement service.

Even though Indian trade titles have tipped BARC to emerge stronger following the government vote, it’s not clear whether the organisation itself will welcome the intervention. In a previous TRAI consultation on TV ratings guidelines, BARC made its opposition clear to any government involvement in the TV ratings industry.

“Across the world, including countries like China, the government does not intervene in the TV audience measurement process,” wrote BARC. “Where it has been mooted, it has been found to be irrelevant, not accountable, and a factor that slows down innovation and data reliability, rather than enhancing it.”

The new guidelines are also anticipated to have a significant impact on India’s current TV ratings leader, TAM Media.

TAM currently operates a panel of 9,000 homes, so this would require significant investment to meet the new minimum standards.

However, potentially adding to TAM’s problems is the restriction being placed on “substantial equity holdings of 10% or more between rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies”. TAM is a joint venture between research groups Nielsen and Kantar – but Kantar’s parent company WPP also owns a substantial number of advertising agencies.


1 Comment

11 years ago

Well seeing the size of India's TV Viewers quantum, increase in sample size was definately required. India being a very variable market, review of all segments are properly required. Let us but hope that BARC proves ideal.

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